Ey up you lovely lot! We hope October has treated you well, we can’t believe it’s November already! Today, we’re talking about MONEY. That’s right, the topic people equally love and hate at the same time. Why does it still feel awkward to bring up this subject in conversation? It’s 2023, people deserve to be given clarity on average salaries, commission structures and earning potential. Sooo, we’re just going to spill the beans.
Since the pandemic, salaries in the mortgage market have changed a little over the course of the last couple of years. From mortgage advisors, to case managers, to trainee roles, we want to take a closer look at why pay has fluctuated so much across the industry and look at some predictions for the future of mortgage recruitment.
Why Understanding Trends in Salaries is Important…
As recruiters, understanding changing salary trends is important for us when doing our jobs. We have to have that information at the forefront of our minds to be able to pass on to potential candidates for new jobs that come in, and for clients that are looking to create a package based on our recommendation. All it takes is a job package with slightly too low a figure on ‘salary’ section, and POOF, that amazingly talented mortgage advisor suddenly backs out. Honestly, we’re not joking – we’ve had candidates run away faster than a whippet as soon as they’ve seen a role requiring X experience, for a stupidly low salary. This is a nightmare for us as recruiters, because it can be tricky to let a client know that they aren’t offering enough to prospective employees. At the end of the day, a competitive salary will keep people happy, over a monthly ‘pizza day’. Although the pizza thing would be an added bonus. In fact our team at Placing Faces would probably take the pizza day. (Alex, we’re looking at you!)
What was it like back in the good ol’ days? (before the madness of COVID-19)
Stability and Predictability: Prior to the pandemic, salaries in the mortgage industry were relatively stable and followed a predictable trajectory. Compensation packages typically consisted of a base salary with the potential for bonuses or commissions, often linked to sales performance. Of course, much of this was down to companies feeling more stable; they could loosely predict the levels of business that would come in, and that their employees could deal with.
Location-Based Pay: Many employers adhered to location-based pay differentials. This meant that professionals in high-cost-of-living areas received higher salaries compared to their counterparts in lower-cost areas. This practice aimed to attract talent to regions with higher living expenses. This is just how things were across the board by the way, no matter which sector.
Traditional Working Environment: The majority of mortgage industry professionals worked in traditional office settings. Remote work was less common, and the idea of working from home was not a primary consideration in salary negotiations.
So, what’s changed since COVID?
Let’s delve into what’s changed in the sector in the wake of 2020’s COVID pandemic:
Resilience Amidst Uncertainty
The mortgage industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges. Post-COVID, professionals in this field have been instrumental in navigating fluctuating market conditions, remote work transitions, and evolving regulatory landscapes. It’s worth celebrating the dedication and adaptability exhibited by advisors and companies since early 2020. ‘Insert round of applause here’.
With the accelerated adoption of digital technologies and remote work, there has been a noticeable realignment in compensation structures. Companies are increasingly recognising the value of skilled professionals who can seamlessly operate virtually. As a result, we’re observing shifts in bonus structures, remote work allowances, and other components of the overall compensation package.
The residential mortgage market has become a wave that everybody working in the sector is having to ride and where we all expect this to improve through 2024, many advisors are looking for a way out. We’ve moved advisors into commercial space, such as bridging and development finance roles, mortgage tech sales and protection-only jobs. Pre-COVID we’d maybe do this with one or two people per year, this past year though we are comfortably into double figures for these transitional placements. Many of the companies in the tech and specialist spaces, are doing well, so this demand for new recruits is not only fairly new, but they also offer a great package.
The shift to remote work has also brought about changes in geographical considerations for salary structures. Companies are re-evaluating the need for location-based pay differentials, recognising the potential for accessing talent pools beyond traditional geographic boundaries. Remote working allows companies to completely lose, or at least downgrade, their HQ. In turn, this allows them to offer a little more money. Many companies also prefer to offer good commission/bonuses if they’re a little worried about someone’s worth ethic when working from home. When compared to the average salary for office based roles, the remote roles tend to be a little higher paid for the reasons that we mention above. It makes sense! But it’s worth noting that people will happily take a little bit of a dip on their financial requirements to be remote, due to personal preference and the reduced travel costs.
Something we have noticed is that many people now MISS being in an office, and hybrid is the preference. However some companies, especially in the North & Midlands, will not match the salaries that have been offered on remote roles. This is completely understandable as well – we do feel candidates need to bear this in mind when they are looking to transition back to a local, office/hybrid role.
As the industry embraces digital transformation, there is a growing emphasis on upskilling and continuous learning. Professionals who invest in acquiring new skills, especially those related to emerging technologies, are likely to be rewarded not only with enhanced job security but also with more attractive compensation packages. So, it pays to go back to school by the sounds of things, eh?
Looking ahead, the mortgage industry is poised for further transformation. The integration of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies are already shaping a new industry landscape. Professionals who position themselves as early adopters of these innovations are bound to be well ahead of future salary trends.
Current Typical Salaries for Various Roles in the Sector
- Basic 25-30K on average.
- Some come with a bonus structure (typically this may look something like £20 per completion, paid quarterly).
- London Mortgage Admins are currently sat at 30K on average, but go up to 35K depending on experience and amount of work they carry out.
- We see them range between 25k, right up to 45k. Companies will, or certainly should, base their pay on the type of advisor that they want. For example, if we work on a 25k + 25% commission advisor role, we get some people that see the benefit in that huge commission, and others than just can’t look past the 25k basic being ‘too low’ for them. The higher the salary, the less the commission/bonus. Most advisors in their first handful of years will be looking for a realistic OTE of £60k+. Senior advisors obviously require a fair bit more, or look to transition into self employed roles.
- Which brings us on to the next point. There are plenty of companies that will offer 50/50 on leads provided, 70/30 on self gen, and offer admin support with that. So if you are looking to pay less, you may struggle against the other companies.
- Commission varies massively, depending on the salary offered, as mentioned above. Many will do a flat rate of 15%-20% on average, some prefer a banded setup, for example, 10% up to 10k, 15% up to 20k, 20% on everything after, based on monthly bankings. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it, but one thing that puts candidates off, is a high validation. Such as 0% up to £5k banked in a month.
Insurance (protection) Admin:
- Similar to Mortgage Admin, although we do often see a Mortgage Admin handle insurance admin as well.
- A protection-only admin will tend to be paid a little less than a mortgage administrator, at 23k-27k.
- Protection Specialists tend to be more commission focused than a Mortgage and Protection Advisor. The good ones are confident that if you give them a strong back book, or tee’d up business, they’ll smash through it. Protection roles start at 20k for a trainee and go up to 30k basic + 10%-20%. They tend not to set a salary too much higher than this.
- Protection Advisors, more so than mortgage advisors, are looking for high earning potential – so the commission structure is really important to these guys.
Mortgage Sales Managers:
- On average, 40-50K as a basic + some sort of commission/bonus structure based on how the advisors perform in their team.
- Often comes with other benefits such as additional holidays, company car etc.
- On average 35-50K as a basic + some sort of bonus structure usually based on new business they win and the forecasted fee that will bring in.
- Again usually with a car allowance. A lot of the BDM positions we work on are with lenders which is why they are offered a much higher basic salary.
Look Beyond the Money!
It’s worth mentioning that here at Placing Faces, we try to make our candidates look beyond the basic salary and commission. Sure, you don’t want to take a huge dip for those early months whilst your pipeline builds, but it can be short-sighted to turn down a role upon seeing the package alone.
Let’s take a mortgage advisor role setup, one with company A, the other company B:
- Company A is offering 32k basic + 20% commission
- Company B is offering 27k basic + 15% commission.
Company A, no brainer – right?! Not necessarily…
- Company A has a completion team but you need to key in your own applications.
- Company B has FULL case management support from start to finish, you just focus on the advice.
Straight away, you’re able to do more business at Company B.
- Company A, launched in 2017, are partnered with an estate agency group that feeds mortgage leads into the business.
- Company B, launched in 2005, get leads organically and through their wealth management partner firm.
Company B has survived the huge recession in 07-09 and will likely have a larger client following. Also, many of their leads will typically be higher value/HNW.
It’s a real shame that brokers will rule a role out based on money alone, and we are noticing this is a much more common trend, post COVID. The cost of living is HIGH, so we completely understand that you want to feel as secure as possible. But if you are not at a stable company, offering a constant lead flow, you could be on 40k with a great commission, and back to square one looking for another job within a year. By this time, you’ve got used to that high package, but in reality, there are not many companies that can or will match it.
Advice for Newcomers to this Industry
If you’re considering a career in the mortgage industry and aim to secure top salary bands in the future, here are some key pieces of advice:
- Embrace Digital Skills: With the industry’s increasing reliance on technology, acquiring digital skills is essential. Being proficient in data analytics, automation, and other technological tools can set you apart.
- Stay Informed: Keep an eye on industry trends and regulations. Being well-informed about changing market conditions and legal frameworks is crucial.
- Continuous Learning: Make a commitment to continuous learning. The mortgage industry values professionals who invest in their skillsets, especially in areas like regulatory compliance and emerging technologies.
- Consider Remote Work: With remote work becoming more prevalent, consider whether you’re open to working from different locations. This flexibility can impact your compensation options.
The post-COVID era has presented both challenges and opportunities to the mortgage industry. As the landscape continues to evolve, professionals must remain agile, adaptable, and committed to continuous growth. We encourage you to share your insights, experiences, and predictions with us, as your perspective adds immense value to our collective understanding! Here’s to a thriving future after the rollercoaster of the last few years!
Here’s to a thriving future after this absolute rollercoaster of a time!
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