Mentorship and training are the best ways to support young brokers who aspire to senior leadership or brokerage ownership roles, say brokers responding to a Canadian Underwriter online survey.
However, brokerage principals and their employees aren’t fully aligned on how effectively these opportunities are presented, according to responses from 222 brokers.
Almost half (48%) of non-owner brokers (e.g. producers, customer service representatives) believe proper training and support is available for brokers who aspire to senior leadership positions within brokerages. But less than a third (30%) believe there is enough training or support for brokers aspiring to own the brokerage one day, CU’s survey found.
In contrast, 55% of brokerage principals feel there is sufficient training and support for aspiring broker leaders and owners alike.
“A lot of time needs to be invested, which I don’t see happening everywhere,” said one brokerage employee.
“More succession planning is required at the brokerage level to ensure transition can take place when needed,” another responded.
Aspiring owners listed financing (57%), age (26%), training (23%) and lack of support/encouragement from senior execs (19%) among the biggest challenges they face in becoming a brokerage owner/principal.
“I wonder if older brokers know how to prepare younger brokers to take over senior leadership roles,” one respondent wrote. “The path older brokers took to get to their leadership roles no longer exists due to market changes, technology and the demand for a better work-life balance. Being a young broker myself, I feel we are responsible for paving our own path to success on our own terms.”
“Perhaps managers and owners forget that their brokerage will be more successful if they encourage their employees to upgrade their skills, knowledge, and education. It might be that they are insecure and worried that their junior staff might advance and leave for a better opportunity. Young brokers need to have more on-the-job training before they start supervising and managing,” another respondent added.
“[There] should be a lot more mentoring done,” another wrote. “Training and courses are helpful on a regular basis. Meeting with clients and listening to needs in-house and out.”
When brokerage owners were asked the same question as young brokers about the obstacles they faced in becoming owners, they listed financing (51%), training (30%), lack of soft skills (23%), and lack of support/encouragement from senior execs (22%) as the biggest barriers they faced in becoming owners.
“At various degrees, all of the above are relevant obstacles. Bit of everything. However, it’s a balancing act: the right personality, focus, determination and knowledge are critical ingredients,” one owner responded.
“I didn’t face many [obstacles],” said another. “I managed to overcome all of the above quite easily. However, the brokerage was MUCH smaller then so things like financing were tough but easier and more affordable given its size.”
Some respondents say the onus is on current leaders/owners to recognize future leaders and cultivate their talent.
“I believe that more training needs to be done to train young brokers to take a targeted approach to combat inefficiencies often overlooked by senior management & current brokerage owners,” one respondent said.
“Identify leaders early on in their careers and give them a seat at the table. Involve them in the overall business strategy so they are exposed to it sooner than later and have a chance to ask questions and get familiarized,” read another verbatim response.
Another respondent says: “[Use your] 20s to learn, 30s to manage, 40s to lead and own. Seek out roles within companies that are going to allow you to make the most of your time as you develop the skills required. If we feel you are hitting a wall, move on.”