Mortgage firm Cartel claims some rival companies still refuse to take women seriously at senior management level.
Recruitment director Andrea Brammer says women face huge obstacles getting jobs in the mortgage sector and those who do then hit a glass ceiling when looking for promotion.
Brammer claims many women do not even think of applying to the sector because it is so male-dominated.
The Salford firm has around 100 advisers and is looking to recruit 150 more in the next six months. Brammer says she would be happy if all 150 posts went to women but does not believe she will receive anything like this number of female applications.
Two of Cartel's board of four directors are women.
Brammer believes mortgage firms – which she sees as lagging behind other sectors of financial services when it comes to recruiting women – are depriving themselves of a major asset by failing to nurture the skills and commitment of women who want to progress in the business.
She says: “Women just do not apply for the jobs because this is an industry geared entirely towards men. It is a tragedy. I think we have to make women understand how good they could be in these roles.”
Cartel director Sharon Sherratt says: “In an ideal world, women would progress purely according to their ability and performance but, unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world.”
Platform sales and marketing director Guy Batchelor says: “There do tend to be more men at the higher echelons but this is not something we are worried about. We have always just gone out and hired the best people available.”