Most generation X and Y job seekers say they are not interested in a financial services sales position. But, paradoxically, they are interested in work that offers the growth potential and opportunities offered by the industry.

LIMRA, Windsor, Conn., uncovered this disconnect in recently conducted focus groups and studies.

“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,” says Polly Painter Eggers, an analyst at LIMRA Distribution Research. “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,” adds Painter Eggers.

LIMRA found that 85% of financial representatives are extremely satisfied with their choice of profession. And 66% would highly recommend their profession to young job seekers.

But Limra notes the industry is not attracting a sufficient number of candidates, particularly young job-seekers, because many companies continue to use recruiting and compensation structures that appeal more to baby boomers.

Gen X and Y job seekers surveyed by Limra say they value stability and security more than the potential of making a lot of money; however industry recruiters still try to lure potential candidates with the opportunity to make money and the lifestyle that follows.

Limra adds that companies have been slow to adopt new technologies that can help Gen X and Y job seekers communicate with their network. Instead, recruiters continue to build networks through traditional social events and other contacts.

“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 says.

–Warren S. Hersch