If financial services recruiters want to improve hiring outcomes and bridge the growing skills gap, they need to start employing more effective talent marketing strategies.
Baby boomers make up more than 20% of the UK’s population, and as they approach retirement age, recruiters are scrambling to prepare for a mass exodus. The financial services industry is likely to be hit particularly hard — in fact, according to Robert Half research, 74% of financial directors report that they’re concerned about the impending skills gap they expect widespread boomer retirement will create.
Many are already feeling the effects as long-time employees age out of the workforce — one in four financial services CEOs report they’ve had to cancel an initiative because their team lacked the skills or experience to execute it effectively. Moreover, 50% of these CEOs claim the limited availability of key skills is “a serious threat to their growth prospects,” attributing the skills shortage to the difficulties of attracting and retaining right-fit graduate recruits.
As a result, 88% of UK finance leaders report they’re already taking steps to mitigate the impact of the boomers’ departure. However, there are plenty of graduates seeking work in the finance sector, although competition for their attention is high, meaning that attracting the attention of right-fit talent will be far easier said than done.
Companies today already acknowledge the difficulty of finding right-fit graduate candidates, and many are taking extreme measures to solve the problem. A 2016 High Fliers report that surveyed graduate recruiters at 100 of the UK’s best-known and most successful employers found that almost half of the respondents (42%) cited “increasing the quality of candidates recruited” as a top priority. Research from Emolument, a salary benchmarking organisation, found that financial firms were willing to offer salaries as much as 30% above market for highly qualified applicants.
But while high salaries and other perks are great ways to spark interest in your company, it doesn’t guarantee a successful, long-term hire. Instead, financial recruiters should leverage innovative technologies, emerging digital marketing tactics and solid user experience design in order to maximise the number of right-fit candidates in their initial applicant pool.
Shifting Candidate Expectations Create New Recruitment Challenges
One of the key issues facing financial services firms is a lack of “considered” candidates — or candidates who have the necessary amount of information to self-determine whether the job and the company are both a good fit. But in an age when the average human attention span is less than that of a goldfish, how can recruiters possibly hope to motivate candidates to take the time to learn more about the position they’re applying for?
First of all, it’s time we all recognise the fact that the traditional, text-based job description is becoming increasingly ineffective — candidates simply aren’t reading it anymore. In fact, if a page is text-based, approximately 38% of visitors will “bounce,” or leave the page immediately without reading a single word. More than 55% will spend less than 15 seconds consuming a piece of text-based content online.
Helping Candidates Make Better Decisions
The solution is relatively simple: recruiters need to get a little bit more creative with their recruitment strategies by borrowing many of the tactics championed by digital marketing. By utilising more dynamic media types, such as interactive quizzes, employer branding videos, infographics and employee testimonials, companies can increase the likelihood not only that more candidates will engage with your content, but that those who do will know enough about your company and its mission to identify with it — or to recognise it’s not the right fit for them.
For example, this Lloyd’s of London recruitment video does a great job of presenting a number of compelling arguments for choosing a career in the financial services sector, while remaining quite clear and transparent about many of the unique challenges and expectations involved.
At the end of the day, habits of digital consumption have fundamentally altered candidate expectations and preferences — especially when it comes to Millennials. If financial services firms hope to replace their retiring employees with a new generation of bright, young, right-fit talent, they’ll need to adapt their talent acquisition strategies in accordance with emerging digital marketing best practices — or risk losing out to the competition on multiple fronts.