How to attract and retain millennials

From building ties with schools and universities to selling the benefits of a career in financial planning, practitioners share practical tips on how to attract the next generation of planners
by Steve Hemsley

How do you go about recruiting staff? Let us know in the commentsIn the upcoming Q3 2018 edition of The Review, we report on the recruitment challenge facing financial planning, adviser and wealth management firms. An increase in demand for services, driven by the imminent retirement of baby boomers (people born between 1946–1965) and a more general shift towards a savings culture, will coincide with a fall in the number of qualified planners and advisers available to meet that demand. 

Recruiting and training new entrants to the workforce is one way of filling this talent gap. We asked financial planners and young recruits to the sector to share their stories and tips on what firms can do to find and retain millennials – the latest generation to enter the workforce. Here’s what they told us:
1. Build ties with local schools and colleges to find potential apprenticesJosh Butten CFPTM APP Chartered MCSI, 26, has been working within his family team full-time since 2010 and became a CISI member in 2015. He began taking his exams at just 16, and in January 2013 he became one of the youngest in the UK to hold the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification. “If you ask most people my age and younger to name the top five careers in finance, financial planning would not be on the list,” he says. “Planners need to go into schools and talk to A-level students.”
2. Advertise on university campuses and at graduate careers fairsClémence Chatelin, 25, is a graduate at Bristol-based Paradigm Norton. She joined the business in October 2017 after completing a Masters in Finance and Investment at Bristol University. “I knew about private banking but nothing about financial planning,” she says. “It was never mentioned as a career option by the university, but I liked the fact it uses technical knowledge, but is also client facing.”

She noticed the graduate scheme advertised at her university and went through what she admits was a tough, but very personable interview process. She would like to see the profession raise its profile on university campuses and at careers fairs. “I did not find any other financial planning firms with a graduate scheme, so if it wasn’t for this one I would probably not be in the profession. I think it needs more young people to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective.”
3. Reach out to charities and non-governmental organisations working with young peopleLondon-based financial planning firm EQ Investors works with the Spear Programme to help young people find a job, often for the first time. Spear is a year-long programme that equips 16 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) from various backgrounds to find long-term employment. Spear coaches young people to help overcome the attitudes and behaviours that are holding them back, as well as training them in how to write a CV and be successful at a job interview. 

EQ Investor’s HR manager, Olusoji Olufunwa, says the company has hired seven young people (five as administrators, and two in Investment and IT roles) so far via Spear. It is training them up to obtain the skills and experiences needed to hopefully progress to becoming senior administrators, paraplanners, and then who knows?

“We have created our own in-house test for interviewing Spear candidates and have started to deliver specific training to ensure people receive the right development for their needs, perhaps, for example, around communications skills,” he says. EQ will also support staff that wish to study for professional qualifications. 
4. Emphasise the professional qualifications framework a career in financial planning offersAmyr Rocha-Lima, 33, has been a financial planner for five years and recently joined Holland Hahn & Wills, based in Kingston-upon-Thames. He had previously worked as a business development manager for Axa Wealth and MetLife in London. “I was attracted to the financial planning profession because it had an established professional qualification framework running parallel to a career path,” he says. 
5. Show that there is a clear career path to follow and opportunity for progressionHolland Hahn & Wills has also hired two apprentices, including junior paraplanner Luke Smith, who joined aged 16 and is now 21. “My career thoughts were around accountancy but I heard that this firm was looking for an apprentice so I applied,” says Luke. “I wanted to work somewhere I could progress. Initially I was set one-year goals and now I have a three-year plan.”
6. Put a structured training and development plan in place for young recruitsParadigm Norton has just hired the seventh young person for its graduate scheme. The interview process is intense because the firm demands people who are academically bright, can demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for the profession and will be great with clients. The graduates spend around six months learning the basics of financial planning before gradually developing their role, sitting in on client calls and eventually making their own calls.

The scheme is the idea of Paradigm Norton financial planner David Burridge, who admits that there were initially concerns that such a training programme would be costly and that the graduates would not stay within the business. 

“You have to be brave and sometimes go backwards before you go forwards to see great business benefits on the client and back-office side,” says Barry Horner, Paradigm Norton’s CEO. “As a sector, we often complain about the lack of new blood and the difficulty in recruiting people, but you have to do something about it. These graduates are the future of our business and will be in senior positions in years to come.”

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Published: 08 Aug 2018
  • The Review
  • Financial Planning
  • Career Development
  • Recruitment
  • financial planning
  • CFP

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