In today’s post, I discuss key Gen Z recruiting factors, including:
- Why wealth management firms must build Gen Z (Zoomers) recruiting messages around flexibility benefits.
- Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report identifying Gen Z’s career flexibility needs.
- 7 examples of Gen Z employment flexibility benefits.
- Gen Z emotional and gender fluidity trends.
- Words and phrases personifying Generation Z.
- Additional resources for exploring Gen Z’s work perspectives.
- Recruiting advantages stemming from a recent survey of 1,300 CEOs.
How to Recruit Gen Z Financial Advisors
Wealth Management Recruitment; Attracting Early Career Talent
There’s a financial advisor exodus looming.
According to a J.D. Power Financial Advisor Satisfaction survey, the average age of a U.S. Financial Advisor is 56, and 20% of the overall financial advisor population say they’re within five years or less from retiring.
Enter, Zoomers. The next generation to take the helm, shaping the trajectory of financial advisory for years to come.
Like every generation, Gen Zers have their preferences. Therefore, for successful wealth management recruitment, it’s critical to integrate their needs and values into your hiring practices and overall company culture.
Unlike other generations who work because they have to, Gen Z doesn’t see it this way. Instead:
“Gen Z is taking the slow road to growing up.” Specifically, “They wait to take part in every activity associated with independence and adulthood. As high school seniors, they are less likely to drink alcohol, date and work for pay than previous generations of teens.” – Generations, Jean M. Twenge, PHD
Also, it’s important to know Gen Z is a skeptical generation.
Why? Because, they’ve watched their parents (Millennials and Gen Xers) experience the negative effects of stress and burnout, and they’re determined to avoid these problems, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report (more below).
If you remember anything from this post, remember this:
To efficiently recruit Gen Z financial professionals, build your recruiting marketing messages around the word—flexibility.
However, a word of caution: If your copy is inauthentic, Gen Z will publicly call you out.
Gen Z (Flexibility) Recommendation Background
Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Annual Report emphasizes the following trends in regard to hiring Generation Z:
- Gen Z’s likelihood to engage with a company posting on LinkedIn if it mentions “flexibility” is far higher (77%) than Millennials (30%) and others on the platform.
- Many employees are looking beyond their “day job” for creative opportunities. Fully 70% of Gen Z and 67% of Millennials say they are considering earning additional income via a side project or business in the next year.
RELATED: Financial Advisor 12-Month Calendar of Blog & Social Media Content Ideas (Special Report)
I can speak personally to the “side business” comment above, given both my children are Gen Zers.
My son (age 18) and daughter (age 22) are both working full-time, and both have side gigs.
My son is enrolled in a full-time college engineering program, and day trades on the side.
My daughter works full-time for a pet daycare network, and is a certified dog trainer on the side. (If you have a challenging-to-train dog in northern Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire, I’m happy to put you in touch with her; she specializes in working with unique canine cases.)
Overall, it’s the desire for flexibility and independence primarily driving on-the-side work gigs. This drive is particularly pronounced among Gen Z, because they’ve watched their parents exert significant efforts in their careers, only to face potential layoffs and other uncertainties at any given moment.
In others words, Gen Z presumes many employers do not prioritize their well-being. A key recruiting strategy is to prove otherwise.
*Today, nearly half of Gen Zs (46%) say they feel stressed or anxious at work all or most of the time, according to the Deloitte Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey.
Gen Z Employment Flexibility Examples
Many recent job postings for financial advisors use the term: flexible culture. However, this phrase lacks specificity.
To stand out and avoid blending in with your competition, it’s crucial to provide concrete examples.
For instance, rarely advertised within the financial services industry are these seven highly flexible employment benefits:
Gen Zers want four-day workweeks.
According to a Bankrate survey, 93% of Gen Zers would prefer a four-day workweek, hybrid work or remote—59% of these same Gen Zers would change jobs or industries for their preferred work schedule.
Also, according to a LinkedIn Workforce Confidence survey, over half (54%) of U.S. workers chose a four-day workweek as one of the top three benefits they’d like offered by their employer.
Offering a four-day workweek is a necessity if you want to recruit and retain Gen Z financial advisors. (Sure, they may work for you, but they’ll leave as soon as they find their four-day workweek. It’s only a matter of time before your competition makes a four-day workweek a standard benefit.)
Gen Zers want job sharing (see Figure 3 within linked article); specifically, enabling two or more employees to split the responsibilities of a single full-time position.
There are many dedicated professionals who want to work, just not full time.
#3—Part-Time or Reduced Hours
Permit employees to work fewer hours while still retaining their job and benefits, ultimately reducing turnover.
Burnout is a real thing. Allowing financial advisors to cut back on their hours (even temporarily) slows employee churn.
A sabbatical every five years is too far out. Instead, apply hyperbolic discounting to your recruiting efforts. Specifically, hyperbolic discounting is a psychological bias whereby individuals favor immediate rewards over future ones.
Gen Z wants to choose their work hours.
To successfully engage Gen Z financial advisors, accommodate their work-hour preferences whenever reasonably possible. In reality, some advisors are likely morning people, while others are night owls.
Therefore, if an advisor enjoys starting their day at 6, 9 or 11 a.m., let them. What matters is that your team is getting quality work done and actively involved in high-value activities, e.g., greeting clients and networking with centers of influence.
Beware: I’m seeing many companies hiring remotely, yet requiring applicants to be located in a certain state or time zone. Aside from IRS regulations, these “qualifiers” deter Gen Zers from applying.
Qualifiers scream—we’re an inflexible organization.
In general, when writing your job descriptions, be literal.
Job Post Example
“At ABC Wealth Management, we nurture a flexible culture empowering you to set your own work hours, as long as you fulfill your 32-hour commitment. Whether you’re crafting a client’s financial plan at midnight or 5 a.m., your peak productivity is our primary concern. We prioritize your well-being, success and the satisfaction of your clients.”
#5—Remote Work & Flexible Locations
In fact, according to Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey, “77% of Gen Zs who are currently in remote or hybrid roles would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to work on site full-time. About one in six (16% of Gen Zs and 15% of Millennials) would immediately start looking for a new role.
Also, ethnic minorities, LGBT+ respondents and those with disabilities are even more likely to say they’d immediately start looking for a new role.”
Allow employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate appointments, family needs or personal commitments without asking for permission.
This benefit is getting some bad PR. To make it work, include tangibility within your job post.
For example, “We strongly encourage all employees to take no less than four weeks’ vacation per year (five or six weeks is better).”
As an aside, every professional I’ve spoken with receiving this benefit is skeptical, i.e., it depends on your manager. The latter is inconsistent and, therefore, unfair.
Keep in mind, when things are unfair, Gen Zers will let you know.
XY Planning Network does a nice job articulating and adding tangibility to their employee benefits. Their approach or similar is a necessity for recruiting Zoomers—no matter the size of your company.
(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Gen Z Data & Trends
The following information is critical. If you’re not contemplating these trends before crafting your recruiting marketing messaging and before you conduct an interview, it’s unlikely you’re aligning with Generation Z.
The following data and trends are attributed to the book Generations by Jean M. Twenge, PHD. If you’re a financial services recruiter or a wealth management leader, buy this book and embrace its insights to catapult your firm’s growth. It’ll help inform your decision making regarding attracting new clients, managing current clients and recruiting the next generation of financial advisors—Zoomers.
Generations details generational differences, and the how and why, of the Silents, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, Gen Zers and Polars (born 2013-2029).
Gen Z stats:
- Gen Zers, aka iGen and Zoomers, were born 1995-2012 and are the first generation who has never known a world without the internet. (p. 345/7)
- Population in 2020: 75.9 million (23% of U.S. population). (p. 347)
- Gen Z believes gender identity is an individual choice, and perhaps people should not be restricted to just two choices. (p. 350)
- Gen Z are more likely to identify as either trans or nonbinary than other generations. While only 1 out of 1,000 Boomers identify as transgender, 23 out of 1,000 Gen Z identify as trans—20 times more. (p. 352)
- 1 out of 18 young adults identify as something other than male or female in 2021 and 2022. (p. 352)
- In 2021, 16.1% of young adults (1 out of 6) identified as something other than straight. (p. 363)
- A key theme for Gen Z: everyone belongs. (p. 362)
- 13-to-18-year-olds’ self-esteem…suddenly plummeted after 2012 with Gen Z. (p. 396)
- The number of teens and young adults with clinical-level depression more than doubled between 2011 and 2021. There’s a full-blown mental health crisis among young people, and it was building long before the COVID-19 pandemic. (p. 396)
Recruit Gen Z Financial Professionals Using Social Media
Engage Gen Z financial professionals on social media: Zoomers gravitate toward visuals, such as graphics, memes and short videos. When reaching out to Gen Z on social media, remember to be:
Authentic: Be real. Zoomers can detect inauthenticity easily.
Concise: Capture their attention swiftly due to limited attention spans.
Creative: Push visual boundaries. Zoomers anticipate innovative content.
Inclusive: Reflect the diversity of Gen Z in your visuals.
Before Posting Your Next Job Post
Finally, contemplate the following words and phrases personifying Generation Z before posting your next Gen Z career opportunity. Also, consider cultural, societal and economic factors.
- Authentic Self at Work
- Belonging, Diversity and Inclusion (forward movement)
- Bold, Challenging and Persistent
- Environmental Consciousness
- Global Awareness
- Leadership Accountability
- Mental Health and Well-Being
- Personalization and Individuality
- Pushing Norms
- Social Justice (show job candidates how they can make a difference in the world by working at your firm)
- Vocal Consumers
- Work-Life Balance (for real)
Vital Gen Z Hiring Resource
Harvard Business Review Article: Helping Gen Z Employees Find Their Place at Work.
I’m concluding this post by highlighting a recent survey of 1,300 CEOs by KPMG.
The survey found that 64% of the CEOs surveyed predict a full return to the office by 2026. This is despite the fact that hybrid work has become the norm for many companies since the pandemic, and a majority of employees say they prefer it.
CEOs have their reasons for wanting employees back in the office, e.g., some CEOs believe in-person collaboration is essential for innovation and creativity. Others believe it’s more difficult to build relationships and culture remotely.
Nevertheless, there are recruiting advantages for firms who don’t pursue this back-to-office push, including being able to recruit from a wider talent pool and perceived as a more forward-thinking and adaptable company, ultimately attracting higher quality talent.
Keep in mind: 16% of companies are fully remote, with no headquarters or office option available. Employees work from workspaces, their homes or wherever they choose. This number is only going to go up.
Before You Go
Note: I have an affinity for Generation Z and would be interested in helping you with your Zoomer Financial Advisor recruiting. Contact me any time.