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Recruiting young talent: Industry must shift perceptions of ‘boring’ broker – poll result

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  • 29/03/2018
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Recruiting young talent: Industry must shift perceptions of ‘boring’ broker – poll result
The latest Mortgage Solutions poll asked brokers whether an image change is all that is necessary to attract young talent to the industry.

The results showed that 33.3% said yes, 58.9% said no, with 7.8% unsure.

Spreading the word

An image change is necessary, according to Leamington Spa mortgage consultant Rachel Dixon, to make the job more attractive to the younger generation, and to encourage more women to enter the industry.

She said: “When you’re 16, 17, if you hear about [being a broker] you’ll think it’s all about numbers. They think it’s boring.

“But that’s only a small part of it. It’s also about building a relationship with your clients and talking to people, and being someone who can listen.”

On top of shifting perceptions of what being a broker is about, Dixon said the industry also needs to be more welcoming of female talent.

“It’s also a male dominated industry, I still go to events and roadshows and there aren’t very many women in the room.

“There has been times when people asked me ‘whose secretary are you?’, that needs to change.”

Dixon argued that the image shift needs to start with education at schools, such as having stands in career fairs, to bigger promotion campaigns.

Dixon continued: “If you want to recruit young blood, they need to know about the options.

“We can’t complain that we don’t have people in the industry if we don’t have education in the very early stages.

“So you need to have the banks and building societies coming out and promoting that it’s a great career, and encourage more women to enter the industry.”

Hands tied

Alastair McKee, managing director of One 77 Mortgages, said recruitment issues do not stem from image concerns – but rather is a matter of funding and resource shortages.

McKee commented: “The industry has probably got a good image, most people have an interest in property and how you finance the property.

“So I don’t think it’s the industry per se that fails to attract, it’s more the lack of resources or funds.”

While bigger firms are starting to regain the confidence after the credit crunch to go on recruitment drives, McKee said smaller firms with more limited budgets struggle to accommodate for hiring costs – especially as networks tend to require newcomers to be qualified.

McKee continued: “Most brokers in the UK are in smaller firms, and that tends to mean one, two, or three-man bands.

“But if you’re a small firm you probably won’t have the funding to pay for someone to go through CeMAP, the product training, and pay close supervision to see that they’re fit and proper for the job.”

He added: “Lots of networks won’t allow firms to take on a trainee, they require you to take on people with full CeMAP and with x amount of experience, so you have your hands tied behind your back.

“Don’t underestimate the amount of time and energy that goes into the [recruitment] side.”

Attractive

In contrast, Trinity Financial communications director Aaron Strutt argued that the industry is not facing a recruitment problem for fresh talent, and is in fact an attractive option for many.

Strutt commented: “The mortgage industry might look boring from a younger person’s point of view. But when it comes to finding a career, it’s still quite a good route for a career and an attractive option.

“If you go to the road shows with one man bands, then they may not have the need to take on younger people.

“Whereas if you’re going through a lot of the firms in London, they’re quite keen to attract younger staff then train them.”

Strutt added that recruitment programmes such as apprenticeships schemes have been successful, and stressed the career attraction in being a broker.

He continued: “At the minute there are a lot of people who are keen to learn to get a career, and we still get lots of emails from people looking for broking roles.

“The apprenticeships schemes have worked quite well for us. It’s not necessarily a quick route, but you get there in the end.

“If you do your qualifications and do your CeMAP then there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”

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