Top broker, lender recruitment trends of 2023

What's motivating the switch from bankers to brokers?

Top broker, lender recruitment trends of 2023


By Ryan Johnson

A mortgage broking and lending recruitment specialist has shared the latest industry trends of 2023, including why bankers are transitioning to broking and whether businesses should hire candidates that “hit the ground running”.

Anita O’Connor (pictured above), practice lead for the banking and lending division at T+O+M Executive, an Australian specialist recruitment agency, painted a vibrant picture of a post-pandemic landscape reshaping talent acquisition strategies.

O’Connor said because of the growth of broker market share now responsible for more than 70% of new deals written, she had seen greater investment in third party teams in the banks with 85% of roles placed this year across third party distribution and frontline (BDMs/relationship managers/brokers).

“2023 has seen most growth in the business and commercial lending sector with approximately 75% of our roles in the past six months surfacing in commercial lending and banking,” she said.

Challenges when recruiting brokers

The broking sector, fuelled by a turbulent property market, has witnessed its share of recruitment challenges.

In a sector that is underpinned by so many small businesses, O’Connor said business owners were often looking for people with a “shared value and work ethic alignment”.

“It’s their own blood, sweat and tears and investment in that business so brokers want that work ethic and someone they work well with,” O’Connor said.

However, finding these candidates is easier said than done.

“A perfect CV doesn't guarantee cultural fit, and that's where we excel at recruitment—matching the right talent to the right culture. It's a meticulous process, but crucial for long-term success."

Current broker recruitment trends

Bankers to brokers: What’s motivating the switch?

Many experienced bankers have walked the well-trodden path of transitioning to broking, and, according to O’Connor, this trend is one of the biggest of 2023.

“The number one reason is they’re looking for flexibility and they’re tired of the layers of bureaucracy and policies and processes of larger organisations,” said O’Connor. “They have the networks and know how to write a mortgage or a commercial deal and the chance to set their own parameters is quite appealing.”

Another strong motivator is higher earnings potential.

“Salary remains a key factor for many candidates, often hovering at the top, alongside desirable aspects like workplace flexibility and a positive management culture."

Redundancy influx fuels banker to broker trend

Increased redundancies have also brought many seasoned banking professionals into the market.

O’Connor said she couldn’t recall in her career seeing so many mid to senior level managers or experienced seasoned banking professionals that had been retrenched.

“Many are in a position where they are burnt out from the last few years and they’re looking for new opportunities, so there are a real abundance of them in the market,” O’Connor said.

Even in the last seven jobs O’Connor placed, two were senior banking team leaders who’ve transitioned into a banker position where they’re setting up their books from scratch.

“There's been a number of them actually converting into broker rolls or even going back into a banking frontline role where they can talk to customers directly, manage their own book, manage their networks because they're realising there's limited opportunities now and they don’t want to pressure of being a people leader.”

Mortgage and banking market trends: The recruitment tightrope

The emphasis on ‘hit-the-ground-running’ candidates

Another trend that has become a cliché in recruitment circles is the preference to hire candidates that “hit-the-ground-running”.

With today's increased pace, pressure, and complex compliance demands, O’Connor said businesses were desperate for immediate contributors.

“They see training new hires as a time-consuming burden, leading them to prioritise experienced candidates who can jump in and deliver from day one,” O’Connor said.

However, hiring managers run the risk of candidate misalignment when only casting the net for experienced candidates.

“It’s been a recurring recruitment challenge over the past 12 to 18 months. It’s difficult when clients take this approach because we are not capitalising on ensuring the candidate has their values and motivations aligned with the company,” O’Connor said. “If you look at the statistics, most people that leave a new job that they start in the first 6 to 12 months are generally the ones that didn't have aligned motivations.”

“They saw it as an interim job, or perhaps their heart was never really in it, but that's something that was never unpacked in the recruitment process.”

Balancing experience with potential

All of this is not to say hiring for the best candidate won’t bring immediate benefits. There may be that candidate that ticks all the technical and experience-based boxes while still fitting in culturally.

The catch? Experienced, ready-to-go candidates often don't come cheap. This leaves businesses with a tough choice: settle for a perfect cultural fit with potential and train them up or pay a premium for immediate impact.

“It makes sense to look at someone that might have the right personality, values and motivation. Someone that has the foundations that you can mould. Unfortunately, that candidate is not always the most attractive because businesses are juggling with the pressure in their everyday jobs,” O’Connor said.

“Ultimately, finding the right balance between experience, cultural fit, and trainable potential might be key for businesses to navigate the current recruitment landscape.”

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