By Cyril Tuohy
It seems as if the financial advisory profession could use a makeover from some skilled public relations counsel in an effort to attract young talent and college graduates.
When presented in the proper light, young graduates find the profession attractive. However, many young professionals lack an awareness of the financial advisory profession and the value it provides, according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments.
The Recruiting Redefined study found that only 20 percent of college students and young professionals surveyed were familiar with the financial advisory profession. After learning more about what advisors do, nearly 50 percent of respondents said they would consider a career as a financial advisor, the survey found.
“The truth is that the looming talent shortage in the advice industry is no longer looming — it’s here, and the typical approach to recruiting is no longer effective,” said Jylanne Dunne, senior vice president of practice management with Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.
Dunne said in a news release that the time has come to “redefine our recruiting efforts.”
The study found that young professionals in ancillary financial services fields such as banking and insurance, or in technical and scientific jobs, provide fertile recruiting grounds for the profession, if advisory firms provide them with a “pathway to certification.”
Loading up on certifications “just to get the job” in the financial advisory field is a myth, the survey also found. In addition, advisors who want to progress in the profession will need some professional credentials to be more attractive to recruiters.
The study also found that if the industry repositions the way it sells the profession to young prospects, the profession can be made 50 percent more appealing than it is today to candidates considering a career in the business.
For example, when recruiting managers pitch the job as having a lot of flexibility — in which advisors can be their own bosses or follow their entrepreneurial instincts — the appeal factor rises significantly.
Stressing a sales culture, commission-based business models and the ability to make a lot of money isn’t all that appealing to Generation Y candidates, the survey found.
The people with the greatest influence on the careers of Generation Y professionals are family and friends, college professors and career counselors. However, relatively few advisory firms take advantage of those channels to recruit young talent, the survey found.
In conjunction with the release of the Fidelity study, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards said in a separate announcement that it was developing an online career center for people interested in a financial advisor career.
“A top priority for CFP Board is to help meet an unmet need in providing employers, students, graduates and professionals opportunities for careers in financial planning," CFP Board chief executive officer Kevin R. Keller said in a news release.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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