The events of 2008 dealt a major blow to employment in the banking sector, and financial services in general. In fact, it was a double-whammy. New regulations reduced the banks’ ability to dazzle the brightest and best graduates with fantastic earnings opportunities. And the perception that the banks had caused the crisis turned these graduates’ heads elsewhere — within the sector to hedge funds and private equity firms and, more commonly, to opportunities outside the sector altogether, to the worlds of technology and disruptive start-ups, in particular.
What can the banks do to regain their advantage? The young women and men they need to recruit now are very different than they were a generation ago. They have different priorities and look to get different things from their work. It’s no longer just about money — it’s about a feeling of pride from the job, a sense of purpose and the right to be treated as an individual. They don’t think they’ll get that from a bank and, in the main, they’re not wrong. Similar concerns exist for those already employed within the industry: many almost need to be “re-recruited” to see the value of driving forward their careers within the industry.
Companies across the financial services sector need to radically rethink their reputation as employers. They must get used to tailoring rewards to different employee needs. They must allow employees more flexibility in how they choose to take their rewards. News about this transformed attitude then needs to get out to the right people.
This is a big change, but it has to be made. It’ll soon be the only way to recruit and retain the best people. There’s no time to waste.