The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) has announced recommendations to encourage more women in the broking industry.
The industry group has spent months researching the reasons why women are under-represented in the industry, carrying out member surveys and workshops, as part of its 'first stage'.
At an event yesterday (29 November) detailing the information from the research, the project lead Jane Counsel explained the data and what the recommendations were moving forward.
The report shows that the proportion of women recruited to the broking industry peaked at 34% during the April to September 2015 period.
Since then, the proportion of women recruited has dropped to as low as 28% for the October 2016 to March 2017 half, and currently sits at 31% as of October 2017 to March 2018.
The information showed there were three key factors for becoming a broker. These were flexible working conditions, the ability to run your own business and the nature of the job.
Other data from the MFAA’s research showed that there were many differences in perceptions of the industry between men and women. For instance, 59% men do not see women as being under-represented, whereas almost the same percentage of women, at 57%, see real under-representation.
Another distinct difference in male and female responses was to the question, “Do you believe there are sufficient sponsors and mentors for women and other diverse groups in our industry?”
While 57% of men said there were and 4% of men said there were not, 32% of women said yes and 27% said no. Thirty-nine percent of men and forty-one percent of women said they were unsure.
Also, 54% of men said there was enough promotion of diverse role models in the industry, compared to 33% of women.
There were six proposed actions to overcome the issues discussed by the industry association.
1 - The first was to promote the existing diversity in the industry with case studies and stories from women who have succeeded in a broking career. The MFAA said it could commit to monthly feature stories on women who have developed and supported women in the industry.
2 – The second was to seek support from industry brands to use data and recommendations from workshops, reports and presentations. It would recommend the industry fund an e-book of ideas that includes quotes from key industry leaders to be used as an employee engagement tool.
3 – The third proposal was to provide education and training for leaders and influencers, with the MFAA recommending best-practice educational courses.
4 – The fourth proposal was to create more opportunities for peer-to-peer support, where identified women could support others on their journey. This could also include an e-book to give brokers the confidence to handle potential issues such as mental health or abuse in the industry.
5 – Fifth was to improve the marketing and promotion of the value proposition of the industry, which included defining a mission statement.
6 – Finally, the sixth proposal was to create opportunities to develop pathways into the industry and support retention of the industry by working with educators and industry groups.