Joel Muckett 14 Nov 2017 08:53am

Executives struggle to attract millennials to finance

More than nine in ten (95%) financial services leaders are struggling to hire skilled millennials, of whom 58% find it “very challenging”

Despite this, a majority (97%) of executives were confident that their industry appealed to millennials, and a third (34%) believed that a career in the industry was “very attractive” a report from Robert Half found.

The report highlighted a disconnect when hiring the right talent for jobs within the industry, as 59% of executives found that the demand for qualified applicants was greater than the supply.

A further 42% believed millennials lacked the necessary qualifications for the industry.

However, executives had attempted to tackle the issue by adopting methods to make the workplace more attractive to the younger generation.

The report said that many millennials wanted a more flexible approach to their job, due to being the first working generation raised with digital technology. To cater to this, more than half (54%) of businesses had started offering flexible or remote working opportunities.

Additionally, in response to a spike in tuition fees, half of companies (50%) had introduced student loan assistance, while 38% offered higher salaries.

“To address the growing skills gap, financial services organisations are thinking about how they can equip the next generation with skills and experience needed to protect the longevity of the industry,” said Matt Weston, director of Robert Half.

Weston added that businesses had also examined hiring practices to draw high-calibre candidates into the sector.

“For many, this means reviewing their employer brand alongside offering initiatives that encourage work-life balance, competitive remuneration packages and clear opportunities for professional development,” he said.

Candidates with good communication skills were the highest in demand, with nearly half (46%) specifying it as a required skill. Those with the ability to influence others or sell (42%) and those with well-developed analytical skills (38%) were also in high demand.

In order to find candidates with these skills, 66% of executives had started partnering with universities, and some also worked directly with secondary schools to ensure the curriculum matched the industry requirements.

More than half (52%) of executives had recognised a change in the way millennials were looking for jobs, with companies increasing their use of social networks to attract the tech-savvy generation.

“Graduates looking to pursue a career in financial services should focus on highlighting both their soft skills alongside their technical skills and education,” said Weston.

“Now more than ever, financial services firms are looking to hire graduates who are eager to progress and have the right cultural fit for a successful future with the organisation.”

Millennials had also affected the way some firms are approaching the hiring process.

Earlier this year, mid-tier firm BDO widened its entry criteria to attract hidden talent, moving its recruitment process online in an attempt to “attract hidden talent and ambitious millennials across all socio-demographics”.

In 2016, Big Four firm KPMG scrapped its multi-stage interview process for graduates following feedback from millennial recruits.