Recruiting the next generation of talent to the financial services industry just might be one of the toughest TA jobs around. For starters, there’s the industry’s historically low unemployment rate, which—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—registered a mere 2.0% in December 2019.
In addition, while the financial services industry was once considered the gold standard of employment among the nation’s best business students, many employers within this sector now struggle to appeal to the next generation of talent. Part of the problem can be traced to lingering image issues that have driven both business and STEM grads to choose Big Tech over Wall Street.
In fact, The New York Times reports that in 2006, 31% of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepted jobs on Wall Street. By 2014, that figure had dwindled to 10%. Conversely, software firms hired 28% of M.I.T. grads in 2015 versus only 10% in 2006.
Aligning Recruitment Messages to Gen Z Perspectives
The percentages above reflect what industry recruiters have known anecdotally for years—Gen Z attitudes towards work are dramatically different than the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who precede them. And, it’s a trend that shows no sign of reversing.
Consider Universum’s ongoing research regarding student attitudes, which finds that business majors favor work/life balance over 80-hour work weeks, alongside stable employment and leadership opportunities. Computer science grads want professional training and development, as well as the chance to work for purposeful companies that make them feel they are serving a greater good, a sentiment strongly associated with the larger Gen Z student population.
The implication is that financial services recruiters need to closely examine their Gen Z recruitment messaging and candidate engagement programs to ensure alignment with this generation’s perspectives and preferences, including:
1. Revisit your organization’s “purpose” messaging. In fact, considering the current backlash against Big Tech’s increasing dominance, there’s an opportunity for the financial services industry to recast its story in an effort to reverse an exodus of talent to technology companies. Think about the possibilities of emphasizing your organization’s contribution to the greater good, whether that means helping small businesses get their start or ensuring families have access to the financial resources they need after a natural disaster. Of course, the messaging must be authentic—ideally, you’ll have proof points in support of your messaging to establish credibility and foster trust among Gen Z audience members.
2. Fine-tune your career-related communications for meaningful outreach and engagement. In addition to messaging that speaks to the values and attitudes of Gen Z as a whole, you’ll also benefit from tailoring your recruitment communications to the needs of relevant Gen Z segments. For example, if you’re trying to connect with younger technical talent, tout projects that showcase innovation and highlight specific training and development programs that you offer. In the case of business grads, communicate how work/life balance is supported, as well as leadership programs that help Gen Z workers advance more quickly in your organization.
3. Show rather than tell students that your organization embraces technology. Campus recruiters should leverage the tools and solutions designed to house all event information online while streamlining repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks such as gathering student resumes and profiles. An end-to-end campus and event solution also includes self-scheduling and screening applications plus onsite check-ins via tablets. Not only do these solutions free up your time to have meaningful conversations with students, they demonstrate that your company is dedicated to using innovative tools that ensure positive candidate and employee experiences.
And, don’t forget that technology can also help you stay in touch with all the great Gen Z talent you meet on campus. Look to robust candidate relationship management software to support your engagement and nurturing efforts aimed at students that haven’t graduated yet or might be taking a gap year before committing to an employer. An intuitive CRM—ideally one built natively into your talent platform—will make it easy to stay in touch with top talent, sharing relevant messaging until Gen Z candidates are ready to move forward in your hiring process.