It’s a common theme these days in every industry. The unemployment rate is low, the vast majority of qualified candidates are already employed, and the demand for opportunities outpaces the supply of exceptional talent. These challenges apply to the financial services industry, too.
Banking, insurance, accounting, and other financial-related organizations not only contend with intense competition for employees, but also a lack of experienced prospects.
The 2018 National Insurance Industry Employment Outlook study discovered that 95 percent of responding firms had available jobs to fill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for the accounting and financial sectors at 2.2 percent, which is below the overall national unemployment number of 3.7 percent. Employment among accountants and auditors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, a figure that is faster than the average for all occupations.
Simply put, challenges abound when it comes to financial recruiting and staffing.
Trends That Are Impacting The Financial Recruiting Process
Evolving Customer Demographics
Millennials are transitioning into their late 20s and early 30s, and they continue to disrupt traditional patterns of banking and insurance services. As they age, they are accumulating more wealth, yet they are less likely to drive an automobile or own a home; unlike previous generations. Diversity also defines Millennials and Gen Z (which includes people born after 1981). These changing customer demographics translate into more emphasis on diversity recruiting, bilingual job candidates and desirable positions like virtual bank teller, customer experience designer,and digital product manager.
The Digital Transformation
As financial services companies strive to engage consumers, generate better efficiency, and increase profitability, they are rapidly incorporating automation, artificial intelligence technology, big data analytics, and mobile technology. Studies indicate that 75 percent of Americans used mobile apps for banking last year. Administrative tasks are becoming automated, so companies and finance and accounting recruiting firms are tasked with filling more strategic roles that require a mix of technology skills, business acumen, and analytical abilities. Financial and accounting companies need employees who can do more than solely crunch numbers to keep up with technological advances.
Increased Competition for Entry-Level Candidates
Financial services firms and insurance companies typically employ a large number of entry-level team members. They are battling with “fintech” and “insurtech” organizations, which are also in the market for exceptional young talent. Interestingly, many Gen Z members do not feel as confident with their soft skills (like communication, teamwork, problem solving, and adaptability) as they are with their technical abilities. This gives companies with organized mentorship programs an advantage in attracting, hiring, and retaining young talent.
Changing and Complex Regulations
Financial institutions are confronted with the General Data Protection Regulation and other regulatory standards related to data ownership and privacy. They also have to manage hundreds upon hundreds of pages of other guidelines. Compliance is a complex subject. Financial service recruitment is placing more importance on talented candidates to fill positions like compliance officer and financial and regulatory analyst.
Cybersecurity Talent Shortage
When companies are impacted by a data breach, consumers are highly likely to stop engaging with their brands. Financial industry firms cannot have too much security since protecting customer data is imperative.
Financial companies are enhancing data security to combat cyberattacks, but there is a talent gap facing recruiters and headhunters. There will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Women comprise of just 11 percent of the information security workforce, according to a Frost & Sullivan survey of more than 19,000 information security professionals from 170 countries. These factors will require companies to ensure equal pay and zero tolerance for discrimination to attract and retain qualified prospects.
A Shortage of Mid-Career Employees
Many people left the financial services industry after the crisis in 2008 and the lean economic years that followed. This has created a shortage of mid-career candidates, and there are even fewer upper-level professionals in the financial industry job market. This represents an opportunity for financial recruiters and staffing agencies to attract talented professionals who have experience in accounting and other finance-related tasks.
Attracting Millennial Employees
The Institute of Management Accountants conducted a survey and learned that 62 percent of senior financial professionals think that recruiting millennials is the most prominent challenge for their companies. Reports indicate that few millennials prefer to stay with a company long term. Considering the cost to attract, hire, and train employees, it is essential that an organization creates a culture that entices team members of all ages and gives them numerous reasons to stay.
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Tips for Recruiting Financial Industry Professionals
Now that you know the challenges, here are some tips for recruiting qualified talent in the financial industry.
Write exact and concise job descriptions
To weed out candidates who are not a fit for your specific opening, highlight the precise technical abilities and soft skills you are looking for. Be clear with the job title and job requirements, make sure that it is well-written and grammatically correct, and use easily understandable language that does not include jargon and euphemisms.
Use employee referrals
Research has shown that employee referrals are an effective way to recruit millennials. Companies seek input from employees to recommend ideal professionals who would make exceptional candidates for open positions, and these employees are rewarded with attractive perks and rewards. A ringing endorsement from a current employee is one of your company’s best recruiting tools.
Create and promote a strong employer brand
An employer brand describes a company’s reputation as a place to work. Healthy employer brands are cultivated by team members at all levels who don’t hesitate to talk about why they love their jobs and their employers. In the financial services industry, which is stereotypically unexciting and conservative, it is effective to differentiate your employer brand by showing you are anything but boring – while maintaining professionalism, of course.
The Motley Fool is a prime example. Striving to break free of its industry’s buttoned-up image, this financial services firm allows employees (also known as “Fools”) to choose their own job titles. On a new recruit’s first day, he or she experiences “Foolientation,” which includes pushing the “New Fool Cart” loaded with beer and food around the office. This is one aspect of introducing new employees to the company culture, and it is common for new hires to happily post details on their social media pages.
Emphasize social media
In addition to the aforementioned examples from The Motley Fool, your company can stand out from the crowd by advertising open positions on social media and incorporating video interviews with team members in the same roles. These interviews offer a glimpse into the company culture and a “day in the life.”
Build an appealing career site
An engaging career site on your website is a perfect way to make a positive first impression. It is also important to have a prominent presence on job boards, where finance and accounting professionals traditionally search for opportunities.
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