More than half of poll participants in a recent BMO Wealth Management survey believe women face a ‘glass ceiling’ in the financial services industry and one broker believes the same applies to mortgage brokers.
“I think women are underrepresented in the higher levels (though) we do have many women in the mortgage industry who are doing very, very well,” Deb White, owner of Dominion Lending Centres White House Mortgages told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I do agree (that financial services needs more women); the reason being that, ironically, when my clients come to me they feel very comfortable that it’s a woman speaking to them because it’s like the mom figure.”
However, the BMO study found that 83 per cent of Canadians feel women are treated more equitably than in the past 20 years. Despite this, 66 per cent say men still have more career opportunities in financial services and 85 per cent feel the financial services industry should do more to promote a more healthy work/life balance for women.
"While our industry has definitely become more aware of some of the challenges female employees face and continues to address them, the job is by no means done," Charyl Galpin, co-head, BMO Nesbitt Burns said of the study. "It's incumbent on both men and women to 'be the change' on a daily basis. Having HR policies which make it easier for women to pursue a career in financial services is an important step, but we all have a role to play in ensuring that gender equity is the norm in all workplaces."
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And there certainly are a number of women who have found sustained success in the mortgage broker industry, as 27 of our top 75 broker by volume last year were female.
For her part, White describes herself – and her fellow female industry couterparts – as having to wear a number of hats. And women in the industry have to juggle the responsibilities inherent in running a business while also filling more traditional roles, according to White.
“For myself, I’m a business owner, I’m a mother, I’m a grandmother, I’m a wife; so I have all those duties on me and history dictates that we have all these things we have to do,” she said. “But saying that, myself personally, I push myself forward like right now I’m the vice-president of Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia.”