April 5, 2011

Gen X and Y Say 'No Thanks' to Financial Services Careers

LIMRA survey says recruiters' techniques are not in line with job seekers' interests

Job seekers in Generations X and Y, on the surface, appear to be uninterested in sales positions in the financial services industry, but when asked about what they wanted from a job, their interests seemed more in line with the profession, according to a survey released Tuesday by LIMRA.

When LIMRA asked job seekers if they were interested in working in a stable industry with growth potential and opportunities to "make a difference in people’s lives," most respondents answered positively.

“Gen X and Y job seekers have some real misperceptions about the financial services industry and the image of a sales person within the industry,” Polly Painter Eggers, an analyst for LIMRA Distribution Research, said in a statement. “Strikingly, the core values that these job seekers profess are the same attributes of the financial services industry. While some of the divide can be overcome by better communication, there are opportunities for companies to adapt their recruiting strategy to attract more candidates.”

LIMRA found that most financial services professionals were happy with their career choice, and two-thirds would recommend their profession to a younger job seeker. However, some of the incentives recruiters use to try to attract Gen X and Y workers may not be attuned to what they're actually looking for. The report noted that traditional recruiting and compensation structures that attracted boomers hold no sway over younger workers. Additionally, young workers report valuing stability and security over big paychecks.

Technology is another factor in younger generations' reluctance to consider positions in the financial services world. Many companies have been slow to adopt new technologies, the report found, while young workers use the Internet to network both professionally and personally. LIMRA identified another disconnect between Gen X and Y workers' interest in being part of a team, and recruiters' tendency to emphasize "be your own boss" elements to sales positions.

“Our study shows that recruiters who align their message with the job qualities valued by the younger generations will be most successful in overcoming the preconceived ideas about the industry and attract people to a position that is both personally satisfying and financially rewarding,” Painter Eggers added.

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