The Millennial generation is a key target market for many advisory practices looking for new hires. This generation is talked about seemingly non-stop in the media and now comprises a full third of America’s population.

Firms who market to clients born between 1980 and the mid 2000s are often wise to hire an advisor or two that fall somewhere in this age range. However, it can be difficult to attract and retain younger advisors because they often lack the network of contacts that older advisors have had time to develop. Here are a few things that senior advisors and firms can do to find quality Millennial prospects and keep them on for the long term.

A Different Mindset

Members of the Millennial generation have grown up in the age of the internet, computers, and major advancements in technology. They were also entering the work force or attending college during the Great Recession, when jobs became scarce and the economy was in turmoil. In order to make themselves more marketable, many Millennials decided to remain at or go back to school to obtain additional degrees, which has contributed greatly to the increase of student debt in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report in 2014 that showed the average amount of student debt carried by recent graduates had risen from $13,000 in 2005 to $21,000. The members of this generation have started their careers with debt weighing heavily on their minds. (For more, see: Finding and Hiring New Financial Advisors for Your Practice.)

There is a commonly held belief among employers that Millennials are quick to change jobs and have a low desire or ability to achieve tenure at any one place. However, a conflicting report was released by the White House Council of Economic Advisers in October of 2014. The report revealed that, while Millennial employees have been less loyal to their employers than the Baby Boomer generation, they have demonstrated a superior level of commitment to employers than Generation X workers.

Attracting Gen Y to Your Firm

Firms that want to attract and retain Millennial advisors for their practice can improve their odds by taking the following steps:

  • Provide a Work/Life Balance: This generation likes having paid time off. Providing a good work / life balance will allow Millenial employees to enjoy more time away from the office while they’re healthy. Permitting occasional work from home and providing paid maternity or paternity leave can also appeal to Millennials who want to spend more time with family. Providing fully paid health insurance or other benefits can also attract younger employees. (For more, see: How to Find and Hire New Advisors.)
  • Clearly Define Job Duties and Opportunities for Advancement: Millennials like to know what they’re getting into before they take on any role, and employers who can provide a clear, concise picture of what an average day on the job will look like will have a better chance of attracting quality talent. Another way to attract young advisors is by reimbursing them for expenses related to obtaining further education such as an MBA or a professional designation such as the CFA or CFP®.
  • Do a Personality Assessment: Employers who take the time to screen a potential candidate to see what makes them tick before hiring can avoid potential personality conflicts and other problems down the road. This is also a useful exercise because Millennials will appreciate the opportunity to see if they feel the position is a good fit for them.
  • Implement an Internship Program: Using internships as a way to bring new talent into your firm lets you give potential future employees a test run. Because internships usually only require a temporary commitment, this can be a good way to gauge whether a prospective employee will fit in to your practice before a final decision must be made.
  • Use Social Media: Most Millennials are very adept at using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites to network, look for jobs and get news on various topics. Firms that establish and maintain a strong presence in this arena will be better positioned to find those diamonds in the rough that are looking for work. (For related reading, see: How to Perfect Your Practice.)
  • Have Some Fun: Firms that know how to do something besides work will almost always appeal to Millennials. Again, they almost all want or require a balance between work and other aspects of their lives. Happy hours, office lunches and other events can show them that employers know how to relax in addition to producing quality work.

The Bottom Line

Employers who seek to attract and retain Millennials would be wise to employ some of the suggestions listed here. Millennials do not believe in living to work as many older employees do, and providing a well-rounded package of benefits as well as a good work/life balance can go a long way towards attracting and retaining the talent you want. (For more, see: Top Tips for Staffing Your Financial Advisory Practice.)

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