In a recent study, Cerulli Associates points out that nearly 28% of financial advisors say that they plan on retiring in the next 10 years… but have yet to settle on a succession plan. In the aggregate, the financial services industry understands the need to develop the next generation of talent, but accomplishing that goal remains a challenge, both due to struggles for firms to retain top talent… and because it’s proven remarkably difficult to attract Millennials to the profession in the first place.
And despite a number of articles and industry studies about what firms should be doing to attract and develop next generation talent, remarkably little has been written from the Millennial viewpoint of what it takes to make the financial planning profession and industry firms more attractive in the first place – about what they’re looking for in a career, why they desire a sense of purpose and not just a job, and what the financial advisory industry looks like through their eyes.
In this guest post, Millennial consultant Janki Patel from The Ensemble Practice (a consulting firm serving the financial advisory industry) discusses why independent financial advisory firms are a great fit for Millennials, the challenges many Millennials face when trying to understand (and differentiate between) the varying service models within the industry, why advisory firms are having such a hard time attracting next-generation talent, and the specific steps advisory firms can take in order to bridge that gap.
Because the real challenge is not just the difficulty in attracting next generation Millennial talent, but that the financial services industry is competing with a myriad of other industries who are also trying to hire the same Millennial talent. And relative to other industries, the financial planning profession is still small, the industry is outrageously complex, and financial services in the aggregate doesn’t exactly have the best reputation (compounded by the perception that being a “financial advisor” is still largely a sales job). Simply put, even though there’s a lot of good in the financial planning profession, it just isn’t easy for young people to figure out who’s wearing the “white hats” when all they see are (very) negative headlines and job postings that are misleading at best!
Meanwhile, Millennials have been unfairly labeled as a spoiled and entitled generation that’s only interested in taking selfies and communicating with emojis. Instead, Millennials can actually be quite driven and passionate, and desperately want their careers to matter… in a manner that is an especially good fit to financial planning. They care less about perks and benefits, and more about a company’s mission, having a well-defined career path, and being challenged and mentored… which means there are opportunities for financial planning firms to attract Millennials not by what they pay, but by what they do, and why they do it for clients.
Because the reality is that good financial planning advice can make deep and meaningful impacts on people’s lives, and that resonates with Millennials. Which means that by focusing on doing a better job of honing their mission statement, communicating how they make the world a better place, and creating well-defined career paths, advisory firms can better position themselves to attract and retain the next generation of talent.