As we approach International Women’s Day it is timely to reflect on the Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association’s (CAFBA) efforts to address the gender imbalance in our industry.
Commercial brokers currently reflect the demographics of banks 30 years ago, and consequently the industry is dominated by men. Only 10% of CAFBA’s membership is made up of women, a confronting statistic in today’s society. It is interesting to note that 50% of new small businesses are started by women or migrants, which further reflects our lack of diversity.
So what can we do to address this gender imbalance? Three years ago CAFBA introduced a number of measures to encourage more women to take up a career in commercial equipment finance broking. Also, there are some women who are currently working in broking firms with equipment finance knowledge who may just need the encouragement to embark on this career.
Therefore with the assistance of Women & Leadership Australia (WLA), CAFBA introduced scholarships to assist women to take leadership roles in our industry to study the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program and Executive Ready Program conducted by the Australian School of Applied Management.
These courses are part of the Women in Leadership Industry Partnership Program, and a key objective of this is to engage with industry associations to promote the importance of increasing the representation of women in senior leadership positions. In doing so, industry associations will make an important statement that they are serious about gender equity and fairness. Also in line with a wealth of recent research, it recognises the commercial benefits to be gained by increasing women’s representation in leadership positions.
From humble beginnings three years ago, where we awarded 5 scholarships, this year CAFBA awarded 15 scholarships to female members, making a total of 29 recipients to date. The success of the program has been outstanding. All the scholarship participants have praised the content, and acknowledged the significant difference these scholarships have made to their careers. These women are now our ambassadors for gender equality and future industry leaders.
We could not offer these scholarships without the generous support of some of our Affiliate members, and would particularly like to thank Westpac, Macquarie Leasing, TL Rentals, National Australia Bank and Bank of Queensland for their outstanding contributions this year.
The success of CAFBA’s program and the way it has been embraced has been specifically acknowledged by WLA:
On behalf of Women & Leadership Australia (WLA), it has been an absolute pleasure working with CAFBA over the past three years. Our partnership has provided access to affordable leadership development programs for women equipment finance brokers from right across Australia. It’s tremendously rewarding to speak to the recipients and read their blogs of the impactful and tangible benefits that the WLA courses are providing.
Finally, thanks to the entire team at CAFBA for their involvement and support of this project. By all working together, we can make a substantial difference in the creation of gender equality in the workplace.
Women & Leadership Australia