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Why Attracting millennials to financial services is a challenge

Matt Weston

Almost all financial services leaders admit it’s challenging to find skilled Millennials. Organisations in financial services see salary and career progression as key to capturing the next generation. Contributior Matt Weston, Director, Robert Half Financial Services UK.

As the financial sector celebrates International Accounting Day, research by recruitment specialist, Robert Half Financial Services has revealed the steps businesses are taking to attract the next generation to a career in financial services. Ninety-five per cent of financial services executives admit that it is challenging to find skilled Millennials, 58 percent of which admit it’s ‘very challenging’.

The vast majority (97%) of financial services leaders remain confident that a career in the industry is still appealing for Millennials. More than a third (34%) claim that a career in financial services is very attractive. The factors financial services leaders consider to be the most appealing to a career in financial services include salary (67%), bonuses (49%) and career advancement opportunities (42%).

The most appealing factors of a financial services career*





Career advancement


Job content/responsibilities


Workplace flexbility


Corporate culture


Non-monetary benefits


*Responses do not total 100 per cent as multiple responses permitted
Source: Robert Half Financial Services

Financial services executives are also taking steps to make the workplace more attractive to the next working age generation. As the first demographic to grow up with digital technology, Millennials want a more flexible approach to work and in response, more than half (54%) of businesses are now offering flexible or remote working opportunities. This is also a generation that has seen a rapid increase in tuition fees, and thus, there is a growing trend for financial services companies to offer student loan assistance (50%) and higher salaries (38%).

“To address the growing skills gap, financial services organisations are thinking about how they can equip the next generation with the skills and experiences needed to protect the longevity of the industry,” explained Matt Weston, Director, Robert Half Financial Services UK. “At the same time, they are also examining hiring practices to entice high-calibre candidates to 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.”

Increasingly financial services executives are looking for talent with well-developed communication skills (46%), the ability to sell or influence others (42%) and well-developed analytical skills (38%). However, with six in 10 (59%) executives expressing that the general demand for qualified applicants outweighs supply, a further 42% believe that today’s candidates lack the necessary qualifications needed for the industry.

To find candidates with the right skills, there is a growing trend for financial services executives to look for opportunities to partner with universities (66%) and to work directly with secondary schools to ensure that curriculum matches the needs and evolution of the industry. More than half (52%) also recognise that the way Millennials search for jobs has changed, with companies increasingly using social networks to appeal to a generation of digital natives.

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

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