How is the property industry becoming more diverse and inclusive?

Expert examines how to support the careers of those working in the industry

How is the property industry becoming more diverse and inclusive?

A new website aims to help people land their first job and succeed in the mortgage industry, with a key focus on diversity and inclusion (I&D)

The Working In Mortgages site aims to improve the workplace life of the sector’s personnel.

It's been jointly set up by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association's (IMLA) inclusion and diversity group, as well as the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), which is encouraging its members to collaborate on, promote and develop I&D in the mortgage sector.

“The future of the mortgage industry depends on attracting the best talent; that means we must raise awareness and understanding of the opportunities available in mortgages,” said Nicola Goldie, a member of IMLA’s management committee.

“One of the group’s key initiatives are the bi-monthly ‘lunch’n’learn’ sessions, which have acted as a space for open and honest discussion, and drive progress in I&D by encouraging attendees to go back to their businesses and share what they have learned.”

In these sessions, the group covers wide ranging topics from the importance of being an ally to disability awareness, and unconscious bias to social mobility.

“The group also collaborates with other industry experts to showcase the tools at the disposal of those working in the sector,” explained Goldie, who is head of national accounts at Virgin Money.

The website is aimed at helping three groups of people: business leaders, industry professionals and career starters, to further drive inclusivity and equity in the mortgage industry and tap into the talent in younger generations.

Career starters

Working in Mortgages website creates more visibility around what a career in the mortgage sector could involve and the benefits it has to offer, Goldie said,

Importantly, it highlights that whatever your educational background, your age and whatever you are doing right now, the industry has something to suit everyone.

“It also provides important resources to help individuals understand what the sector is really like, and to help them land a role in the market,” Goldie added.

Industry professionals

Goldie believes that the mortgage industry should be a place where everyone feels included, valued and fairly treated.

It is not only important that people working in the industry enjoyed their day-to-day roles, they must also feel like part of a wider community, she added.

“We need to all continue working towards facilitating this environment, but the website aims to be a focal point for these efforts,” Goldie explained.

It features a catalogue of case studies, which shines a light on how different mortgage professionals have made their way in the industry.

“The Working in Mortgages website showcases role models within our industry, and is looking to highlight these career case studies to inspire the next generation of mortgage leaders,” she said.

Goldie remarked that it was widely recognised that learning from other people’s experiences was one of the most effective ways to develop your career.

“The joint Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) and IMLA working group, along with DIFF as a sponsor, are about to launch a sector-wide scheme to connect aspiring and existing mortgage professionals with leaders and industry experts for one-on-one mentoring opportunities,” Goldie said.

This initiative, offered a chance for mortgage professionals to accelerate their development, build personal skills and increase their confidence, she said.

Business leaders

Creating a fulfilling and positive workplace culture, Goldie said, was at the heart of any successful business proposition.

“It is well known that companies with a more diverse workforce outperform their competitors, while a better workplace culture will support recruitment, talent retention and employee productivity,” she added.

As I&D becomes an increasingly important part of long-term business strategy, Goldie said the Working in Mortgages website helped to provide business leaders with tools and materials to ensure their I&D approach was delivering maximum value to their business and its stakeholders.

How far do you think the mortgage industry has come in recent years regarding diversity and inclusion? Let us know in the comment section below.