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DIFF podcast: Lack of awareness means younger people overlook financial sector careers

  • 08/02/2024
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DIFF podcast: Lack of awareness means younger people overlook financial sector careers
Younger people may not consider a career in financial services due to a lack of financial literacy and the belief that the sector is hard to get into, it has been said on a podcast.

Speaking on the February Diversity and Inclusivity Finance Forum (DIFF) podcast about younger people in the sector, Taylor Osunsedo, business development manager at Alternative Bridging Corporation, said potential candidates did not think about working in financial services because many had a “lack of understanding” around mortgages. 

Osunsedo said most people were unaware of how mortgages worked until they needed one, and as for their view on the profession, some believed they needed a finance degree. 

He said there was a belief that the sector was complex and overwhelming, and financial products like mortgages were not taught in schools. 

However, he said: “What is good about the industry is there are so many career paths you can take.” 

Sabrine Ouladihil, digital marketing executive at Bluestone Mortgages, said that growing up, mortgages were not discussed, and being from an ethnic minority background, her parents and friends’ parents did not have a mortgage either. 

“It just wasn’t something that was really spoken about,” she added. 

Ouladihil said: “It’s starting to change with the likes of TikTok, YouTube, these things are becoming more common, more spoken about. People are sharing their experiences online, but I do still think that the duty is on the financial industry. 

“Within Bluestone Mortgages, we’ve actually spoken about working with universities and schools to go in and educate students about mortgages, what it means and how you can prepare yourself for the future.” 


Attracting younger employees  

Osunsedo said that to encourage younger people into the sector, it was “important to collaborate with educational institutions, for example, partnering with universities and colleges to promote the mortgage industry as a viable career option. So, they can do internships, sponsor events, host workshops and educational sessions about the industry.” 

He said offering a flexible working arrangement would also attract younger people. 

Ouladihil said having a diverse leadership would help, as younger people wanted to see themselves grow into similar positions. 

She said it was important to create an inclusive environment as well, mentioning that when she first joined Bluestone, she noticed there was a “huge drinking culture” in the financial industry. As a Muslim who does not drink alcohol, Ouladihil said her manager picked up on this and asked why she did not attend social activities. 

“He took that on board and decided to change those social activities into physical activities,” she added. This included playing darts and axe throwing “so that I could also come along and enjoy myself instead of feeling uncomfortable”. 

Ouladihil said her CEO was very supportive of diversity, and when she suggested celebrating Eid, this evolved into commemorating other national events and holidays. This has further developed into the creation of prayer and meditation spaces at Bluestone. 

Osunsedo said being mentored was helpful for his progression and named the Working in Mortgages scheme. Ouladihil cited the Women in Banking and Finance scheme, saying it was “great to have a space where you can learn and grow from someone you can relate to”. 

Bluestone has also gained access to a mentorship scheme run by Shawbrook following the acquisition. 


Perceptions of younger people  

David Adjei-Barwuah, podcast host and marketing executive at AE3 Media, said an older colleague at a former job told him people his age “were soft” as they were “overly reliant on the internet”.  

Ouladihil said in previous jobs, the marketing team were told they were “just fun and games”.  

She said: “I don’t think that’s the case, I think we’re more adaptive, we know how to stay on trend, and come up with fresh and current ideas that actually keep us ahead of the game and not behind.”  

Osunsedo said the older generation may assume young people are lazy, whereas he thought they were “probably more resourceful, more adaptable to change as well”.  

“For example, during Covid, I think younger people were probably able to adapt quicker just because we’re more tech-savvy and had the resources available to us,” he added. 

Osunsedo said he faced the challenge of not being taken seriously when engaging with older brokers and felt he had to prove himself more.  

He said the sector was diverse in terms of ethnicity and race, but added it was “male-dominated and the typical age is 40-plus”.  

Ouladihil said it was sometimes “daunting” to bring new ideas to her colleagues made up of older men in senior positions, because her suggestions tended to be “current and on trend”, which could be seen as young. 

She said there could be hesitancy to take her ideas on board, but it was “rewarding” when it happened. 

Ouladihil said she felt her ideas were supported at Bluestone, which she described as having a “young, fun voice”.  


Listen to the full episode [24:56] hosted by David Adjei-Barwuah, marketing executive at AE3 Media, Taylor Osunsedo, business development manager at Alternative Bridging Corporation, and Sabrine Ouladihil, digital marketing executive at Bluestone Mortgages.

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