Recent Pew research indicates that millennials are the largest generation in the American workforce today—and, of course—their numbers will only increase in the coming years as younger millennials graduate college and look for employment. This begs two questions: how can the banking industry attract and retain them career-wise, and what are their major motivations when choosing a career.
With these and other pressing questions in mind, CSI, in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics, conducted a national study of 1,008 U.S. adults ages 21-65. The purpose of the study was to not only illustrate a clear picture of banking trends as they relate to all generations—but also uncover millennials’ thoughts about pursuing a career in the banking industry.
Through this research, CSI has revealed many details—some expected and some rather surprising—for financial institutions seeking to hire these millennials. For instance, according to the study, 91% of millennials perceive a job at a financial institution as a respectable career choice. But, despite this fact, the bulk of millennials are not preparing themselves for a career in banking.
Only One in Three
The millennial generation perceives banking to be a noble profession, which of course means they would eagerly accept a position in banking, right? Not necessarily. According to the research, only one-third of millennial respondents said they would take a banking job if offered to them, leaving doubts as to the industry’s ability to recruit young talent.
Attracting the Millennial Employee
So how can financial institutions hope to attract millennials in the wake of these findings? The answer is, surprisingly, rather traditional. According to study data, 42% of millennials stated that traditional benefits like health insurance and retirement savings plans were their top priority when choosing an employer—after salary, of course.
For additional insight, we turned to Becky Hallman, assistant vice president and human resources director at River Bank and Trust. A CSI NuPoint® core customer, this $809 million-asset bank with 10 branches across Alabama has a knack for hiring and maintaining millennial staff: of its 146 employees, 60 of them are millennials.
“My advice would be to get more involved with local schools and colleges, and to look into creating an internship program that would attract either high school seniors or college students that can be cross-trained in multiple areas of the bank,” Hallman says. “We stay in close contact with college advisors that can help place outstanding students nearing graduation in a particular position that we are looking to fill.”
Further, millennials want to learn about prospective employer expectations—and have a clearly defined career path—sooner rather than later. For instance, 30% of millennials in CSI’s study named the ability to build a long-term career as important in their willingness to pursue a banking job. Here are a few other important attributes millennials seek in the workplace:
- Paid time off. Through competitive market research, learn what other organizations in the industry, and in your region, offer in terms of vacation time and sick leave. Be prepared to match, or exceed, what your competition provides.
- Consistent hours. While banks only have so much flexibility here, consider a scheduling plan that ensures each employee has at least some Saturdays/weekends free to promote a work-life balance. Also, determine whether offering flextime or working remote are options for your institution.
- Interesting work. Popular media has hardly depicted banking as a thrilling career, which only contributes to millennials’ perception of the industry. So, when working with millennials, ensure they have the opportunity and flexibility to build on their natural strengths. Their idea of personally fulfilling work also includes plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects.
As we know, a career in the banking industry can be very rewarding. And as the millennial generation as a whole matures, traditional benefits and incentives will continue to be their main draw toward a banking career. Articulate these in your hiring efforts and you will reap the benefits of this young and talented generation. Check out this white paper for even more exclusive insight from CSI’s generational research.