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The talent shortage in mortgage broking

by Zak Wilford5 minute read
Zak Wilford

It’s no secret that mortgage broking is a grey-haired industry. With heaps of articles written about the ‘next generation of brokers’ and where they are going to come from, I am yet to see the answer.

There are articles that make valid points. I love Anthony Alabakov’s idea of making mortgage broking sexy, and adapting strategies to become as attractive as the real estate industry is to young talent.

In my experience, I find the responsibility is passed between the education providers, aggregators and industry bodies like MFAA and FBAA. It is in all of their best interests, but none are seen to really commit and drive results.

So where does the problem lie? With 2015 being hailed as the time to be a broker, earning potential that includes monthly trail commissions, and a business model that lets you build an asset, why aren’t young people jumping on the bandwagon?


In my opinion, recruitment is about push-and-pull factors, whereby people move jobs because they are either being pushed out of one or pulled into another. I find with young talent, the biggest pull factors are typically brand and culture.


People want to work for a good, strong brand that’s popular and aligns with their personal values. They become part of the brand and see the brand’s story as something they can relate to. The clothes we wear contribute to our story, and we buy certain brands because of how we’re perceived wearing them, and it’s the same when working for a brand. People want to be under a brand that is well liked and something they are proud of.


The next big pull factor is a great culture. Businesses can either sink or swim depending on their culture. Culture dictates an employee’s engagement and team morale. It has the ability to influence self-esteem and self-confidence, and is key to unlocking employee potential. People will go from job to job until they find the place they fit – somewhere they’re happy because they feel valued and feel they can grow. A good culture is not only attractive for top talent, but also increases employee retention.

With this being said, how can a one - to five-man brokerage develop a strong enough brand and culture to compete with bigger, more recognisable brands?

It’s the same as acquiring new clients. It’s about getting their attention, telling a story and, in the same way people buy from people, they will buy into your business.

If your only client stream is referrals, it’s good, but at the same time, limiting. In a day and age where you can get people’s attention through social media and engage with your audience on a one-on-one basis, you can easily create a more attractive brand.

The future of marketing and customer acquisition is in social media, and it’s no different for recruitment and acquiring talent. I think those brokers that are actively marketing, developing a strong social media presence and in the background developing a great culture, will ultimately win.


Zak Wilford, recruitment specialist

Zak Wilford is a specialist recruiter that works alongside mortgage brokers in growing their business through hiring great people. He first stepped into the mortgage industry in 2013, aggressively targeting aggregators and head-hunting their brokers and groups to join the then start-up aggregator Finsure and 1300Homeloan. After a year with Finsure, he joined recruitment agency Drake international, and a year later he stepped out on his own to fill a gap in the market – to start a recruitment agency specialising in working with finance brokers. Leveraging his network and experience, Zak now works with both commercial and residential finance brokers, sub-aggregators and other groups to help them grow through hiring great people. For more information, visit www.zakwilford.com.

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