Recruiting Millennials into the Banking Industry

As fall approaches we at FBLG are gearing up for another “accounting recruiting season” in order to secure the newest and brightest talent that will help us best serve our clients.  A best practice secession plan includes an adequate strategy for recruiting and retaining talent. This is more important than ever in the banking industry as nearly half of all banks surveyed in a 2016 bank compensation survey believe senior executives will be retiring in the next five years as well as 31% replied that CEOs were expected to retire within the next five years. Additionally, 43% of banks surveyed believe there aren’t enough talented commercial lenders in their market making it tough to increase revenue.

Unfortunately, many banks are struggling to hire what some would call the most finicky generation yet, the millennials. One third of the banks participating in the compensation survey reported that they are actively seeking millennials but are having trouble attracting talented employees. The highest percentage of banks responded with this were banks with less than $250 million in assets (43%). Another third replied that hiring millennials is not a focus for their bank. However, there are many reasons that hiring millennials should be part of a bank’s focus. For one, by the year 2020 they will account for 50% of the global workforce as the baby boomer population continues to retire.

One strength this generation has is their knack for technology, something the banking industry continues to require in this digital age. They grew up with cell phones, laptops, and instant access to information. Many of these millennials are better equipped to use key business tools than more senior workers. As the millennials continue to grow into the dominant portion of the work force so will their presence as consumers, and who better to attract millennial consumers than millennials themselves?

So how exactly can a bank better improve their secession strategy and recruit talented workers from this generation? It turns out compensation is not the most enticing way to convince this generation to come on board. Only 48% of respondent banks believed successful compensation programs contributed to their success with attracting millennials. This generation wants more out of their careers than a paycheck. They tend to seek out a fitting company culture, a balanced work life, and a clear path for advancement. The banks surveyed agreed, as 71% contributed their comfortable culture to their success of retaining millennials and 59% contributed their success to a clear path for advancement. Sixty percent of banks surveyed reported that they believe millennials aren’t interested in working for a bank. Traditional culture and bad publicity brought on by the recent global recession are thought to be the main culprits behind this.

Before you can retain new talent you must first recruit them. Below we have compiled some recruiting suggestions that we ourselves have used and found to be effective:

  • Get connected with your local college campuses. There is no better place to find potential talent than from this source. Local universities with structured finance and banking programs are a great place to get started. Make your presence known at these campuses. Banks should consider sponsoring events and encouraging employees to be guest lecturers.  Most importantly, banks should consider recruiting on campus. Many campuses hold job fairs and other finance concentrated events where employers are encouraged to attend. Once recruiting on campus begins we strongly recommend starting an internship program. Advantages of internships including minimizing training if the intern is hired after graduation as well as getting your bank’s name circulating around the campus.
  • Have a strong and updated Internet presence. In order to recruit these tech savvy individuals you must get on their level. Ways to do so include utilizing social media, having a mobile friendly website, and accepting interviews via video chat. One study found 67% of first time job seekers used social media. A bank should consider having someone update their Facebook and LinkedIn regularly. These social media accounts will allow banks to interact and advertise open positions with these job seekers. A mobile friendly website will allow job seekers to quickly research and apply for available positions. Additionally, a bank should consider allowing individuals to interview via video chat. This will open up the Bank’s employee market to a wider array of potential workers.