'Genderless' outlook sees female brokers excel

by Adam Smith08 Mar 2012

A top broker has praised the mortgage broking industry for being “genderless” in its potential for advancement, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day today.

A study from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report has revealed that the number of women in senior management in Australia dropped 3% in 2012, ranking Australia 21st globally.

However, MPA Top 100 Broker Katrina Rowlands told Australian BrokerNews the mortgage broking industry has cut against this trend.

“The strength and capabilities showcased by the current female mortgage brokers is the highest I’ve seen. There are also those stalwarts who have been around for awhile and are leading from the front,” Rowlands said.

Rowlands indicated that mortgage broking is unique in that it purely awards capabilities, with a blind eye toward gender.

“I think it’s the fair competition against peers, whether it be by numbers or quality. It becomes genderless to a certain degree, but it is notable that females are represented prominently,” she said.

Unique aspects of mortgage broking pave the way for women to excel. Rowlands said mortgage broking stands apart from other industries in the way it allows participants to improve their professional abilities at their chosen pace.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if some key aspects of the way the industry is run have led to the abilities of women coming through. It’s things like the flexibility of work hours, the flexibility of management and the flexibility of being able to be the best you can be with what you can cope with in changing scales,” she said.

Rowlands has firsthand experience of this. Coming into the industry the same year she gave birth to twin daughters, she said the nature of mortgage broking allowed her to succeed while setting her own schedule.

“Very few industries would have allowed the capability of growth at the speed I was capable of at the time, but I’ve grown and grown and so have my capabilities,” Rowlands said.

Women in mortgage broking are also starting to come together to offer one another encouragement and support, she said. Moreover, Rowlands stated that the industry itself recognised the contributions and achievements of women. She pointed to a promotion run by AFG highlighting the success of female brokers and new entrants to the industry.

These new entrants also have the example of established industry “stalwarts”, Rowlands said, pointing to brokers such as Mortgage Choice’s Wendy Higgins. Rowlands said she is also proud of her role as an established female broker.

“It’s nice to be known as a matriarch of the industry. If I’m leading from the front and can encourage those to follow, I can be very proud of that,” she said.

Related stories:

Women brokers the way of the future

Women reap mortgage broking success