With record unemployment and a tight labor market, businesses in every sector are struggling to find the talent they need. However, each industry faces distinct challenges here, and the financial sector is no different. 

In order to succeed in talent acquisition, retention, and optimization, we must understand the unique nature of the problems we’re facing. 

Financial institutions must grapple with the issues they’re facing in order to develop the most effective talent strategy. With the right talent strategy in place, we dramatically increase our odds of successfully executing on our business strategy. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the biggest talent hurdles for large banks, community banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. 

Millennial Turnover 

Every industry is working out how to attract and retain millennial talent, but the financial services sector gets the worst of it. 

In 2011, PwC conducted a survey of 4,000 millennials working in the financial services industry. One of their key findings was that only 10% of these individuals planned to stay in their current role for the long term compared to 18% in other industries.  

Furthermore, 21% of millennials surveyed said they’d rather not work in the financial services sector at all. Banks need to proactively work on their employer brand, offer great work-life balance, and consider flex time options to increase retention and attraction of millennials.  

Given that millennials will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020, it’s critical that financial companies work to address turnover here. 

The Image Problem 

It’s no secret that the financial industry has a bit of an image problem. The Great Recession lingers in the public’s memory, and the concerns held by consumers are also held by potential candidates. AS one director told HR Financial Services, “There is a major branding issue in our industry. Our marketing video is unfortunately The Wolf of Wall Street, and it attracts the wrong type of people.” 

There’s a perception that everything in finance is only about the money, which makes it harder to recruit as candidates grow more concerned with culture and mission. Financial institutions need to not only be aware of this reputation but take steps to counteract it at every part in the recruitment process. From our recruiting marketing to screening calls and interviews, these organizations need to drive the message that they have a mission beyond making money. 

Lagging Culture 

The other side of the image problem is the conservative culture at many financial institutions. While this may be a perk for some, it can be viewed as a little stuffy and outdated. If there was any doubt that the financial sector was a little behind the times when it comes to workplace culture, look no further than the reactions to Goldman Sachs casual dress code announcement earlier this year. As more companies embrace flex time options, casual dress codes, and mission-driven cultures, financial companies can seem a little stuck in the past. 

The other thorny problem for financial institutions is a continuing lack of diversity. Earlier this year, Congress formed the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion to investigate whether legislation was needed to address this issue. In addition to the mounting evidence that diversity makes a business more successful and profitable, it’s also important for recruiting. A lack of diversity can make a company significantly less appealing in the eyes of candidates. In short, financial institutions need to work on the diversity problem while also keeping it in mind through the recruiting process. 

Tackling the Issues Head On 

The first step in solving a problem is understanding it. Financial institutions that are struggling to recruit need to carefully study their organization and their recruiting efforts to understand why they’re falling short. These trends may generally hold true for the industry, but every company will have its own weak points and strengths in terms of recruiting.  

What’s your strategy for recruiting in the financial sector? 

The right people, empowered to perform.