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Want to Win Over Young Advisors? Meet Them Where They Are

Joe Buhrmann November 2, 2021

Today, the talent marketplace is on fire. According to a 2021 study by Microsoft1, almost half (41 percent) of the global workforce is considering switching jobs within the next year. With over 10 million open positions in the U.S., we’re operating in an employees’ market—a state of play where there are more employment opportunities available than there are professionals to fill them, empowering jobseekers to evaluate potential employers with greater scrutiny than ever before.2

With a large percentage of financial advisors preparing to retire, the current recruitment market is particularly problematic. The way to win over the up-in-coming generation of financial professionals and planners? Meet them where they are. If the next generation of advisors is tech-native, financial firms must be as well. Here’s how financial planning software can influence recruitment.

Tech-native Tendencies

It’s safe to say that Millennials—anyone born between 1981 and 1996—have shaken things up. New priorities, new perspectives, and new tools have reshaped the way we do just about everything. But they’re not the only ones. The first wave of Generation-Zers has joined the professional ranks ready to make their mark.

While the rising generations embed themselves in the global marketplace, Baby Boomers have begun to make their mass exodus from the nine-to-five grind that they maintained for decades. This is particularly true (and problematic) for the wealth management industry, where one-third of the total workforce is slated to retire within the next decade.3

The CFP Board reports that over 52 percent of their active CFP certifications are held by financial professionals over the age of 50—an indication that wealth management is lagging behind in the generational handoff.4

To catch up, financial firms must play to the natural strengths of the next generation of advisors. Young advisors were born to ultimate accessibility—a vat of knowledge at their fingertips, made available by digital tools that were interwoven into the fabric of their lives. Technology is what’s familiar. It’s what’s comfortable. And for these tech-native generations, it’s not a differentiator—it’s status quo.

It’s a known fact that the financial sphere is lagging on the digitization front—choosing the comfortability of rote, manual processes over technology they’re unfamiliar with. However, the generation that found comfort in those processes is on their way out; firms must use a tech stack to stand out among their competitors in the talent marketplace and attract like—savvy tech-natives—with like—intelligent financial planning.

A New World View

The scale has tipped in a new direction. While security and sense of purpose are the top motivating factors for Baby Boomers, Millennials are most motivated by financial gain and—more interestingly—the pursuit of passion.5

Here’s what we know about each generation that’s active in the workforce6:

Baby Boomers: Born 1946–1964

  • The “workaholic” generation, often working long hours
  • More committed to their place of work than any other generation
  • Favor structure and consistency over change and innovation
  • Prefer the traditional workplace

Generation X: Born 1965–1980

  • Seventy percent of organizations consider this generation to be the “best workers”
  • Value work-life balance
  • Less candid with feedback than other generations; more complacent
  • Most motivated by compensation

Millennials: Born 1981–1996

  • Most independent of all the generations
  • Prioritize the world impact and ethics behind the work they’re doing
  • Innovators by nature and capable of inventing new processes without being instructed to do so
  • Prefer open, collaborative environments to cubicles

In other words, younger advisors aren’t just interested in deriving fulfillment from their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, they want to know how those duties ladder up to big-picture goals and the good of humanity as a whole. They want to know that their employer shares the same values and prioritizes innovation to the same degree.

The simplest way to showcase innovation? Building a toolbox of smart planning tools that empowers your team to work faster, leaner, and more efficiently. If the next wave of advisors are life-long inventors, financial firms will be well-served to adopt a similar identity.

Work from Anywhere

Last, but not least—flexibility. With the advent of cloud-based systems came ultimate flexibility and accessibility, two luxuries of the digital revolution that Millennials have enjoyed their entire lives and expect their employer to provide.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, financial firms were forced to go “all in” on remote work. While only 20 percent of professionals worked out of their homes before 2019, that number sky-rocketed to 70 percent in 2020.7And although there’s a push to resume a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, there’s no going back.

To support the “work from anywhere” mindset, financial and advisory firms must retool their core business practices. They must redefine how their employees work together—and interact with clients and prospects, despite not physically being together, investing in the connective tissue that makes a distributed workforce possible.

The connective tissue? Easy-to-use planning platforms that young financial advisors can access anywhere, anytime, and on any device. A single solution where they go to train, to plan, to communicate with clients, and learn from one another.

Top talent is all over the place. The key to attracting and retaining them is simply meeting them where they are and providing them the tools and support they need to stay innovative and stay motivated. To learn more about the role of technology in your talent strategy, check out our eBook Retaining Talent and Growing Your Enterprise with Financial Planning Technology.

Sources:

1 Microsoft. “The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?” The Work Trend Index, 22 March, 2021.

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary,” August 9, 2021.

3 Thrasher, Michael. “The Wave of Advisor Retirements Is About to Break.” RIAIntel, February, 2020.

4 “CFP Certification More Important in Today’s World Than Ever Before,” CFP Board, November 30, 2020.

5 Lesonsky, Rieva. “What Different Generations Want From Work.” Score, July, 2019.

6 GetSmarter. “The Strengths and Weaknesses of Every Generation in Your Workforce,” July, 2020.

7 Parker, Kim. “How the Coronavirus Outbreak Has – and Hasn’t – Changed the Way Americans Work.” Pew Research Center, December, 2020.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

Image of Joe Buhrmann
About the Author

Joe serves as a Senior Financial Planning Practice Management Consultant at eMoney Advisor. With more than three decades in the financial services industry, Joe aligns his know-how and passion to help firms of all sizes increase usage, adoption, and engagement through a modern financial planning experience. He leverages his expertise and supports internal departments across the enterprise, helping Communications, Marketing, Relationship Management, and Sales. Joe attended Illinois State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science and his MBA.

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