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Millennials in Financial Services are Focused on Corporate Reputation and Diversity

By Melissa J. Anderson

According to a new study [PwC] released recently by PwC, the majority of millennials in the financial services industry said they want their employers corporate values to match their own. Past research had shown that Gen Y employees tend to be more values-oriented when it comes to their work, desiring a job that was personally meaningful to them, where they felt they were contributing to the bigger picture, and this study is no different.

What’s different about this study is that it also describes just how mobile millennials are.  Only 10% in the financial services sector say they plan to keep their current job for a long time – even less than millennials across all sectors (18%).

Jon Terry, partner, PwC, explained:

“Financial services companies might have a tougher time competing against other industries for the reputation-conscious millennial generation, whose experience and expectations have been marred by the financial crisis. This generation of graduates actively seek out employers whose values reflect their own, so the sector’s ability to restore trust and re-engage with society will be critical in attracting the best talent from current and future graduates.”

The firm draws a connection – if companies don’t tend to their own corporate responsibility and diversity initiatives, and come through on those values in the long run, their youngest generation of employees will not stick around long.

Career Compromises

The global study of over 4,000 millennials points out that they are a highly ambitious group. They crave the opportunity for advancement and career development, and they’re willing to move around to get it. In fact, according to the study, “Of those working in financial services, 42% said they’re open to offers and 48% were actively looking for new opportunities.”

Additionally, the study continued, having grown up through the financial crisis, most are also sensitive to the reputation the financial services industry has garnered. One in five (21%) of millennials said they’d “rather not work in the financial services sector.”

The study also pointed out that the majority of young people in the financial services (55%) felt they had made sacrifices or compromises in accepting their current role. In the insurance industry, 48% said they had compromised on salary, 29% in banking said they had compromised on location, and 30% said they accepted a job they were overqualified for. The need to find a job quickly was a top reason for millennials in insurance (45%) and banking (30%) to accept a job.

The survey also revealed the importance of diversity and inclusion to Gen Y. Over three quarters (76%) said a company’s diversity and inclusion practices were a key consideration in whether they’d work there. And, the study pointed out, most said their companies aren’t coming through on their commitments.

The report reveals, “55% of millennials across all sectors said that while companies talk about diversity, they felt that opportunities weren’t equal for all. In the financial services sector, many more agreed with this view – 68% in the sector as a whole and 72% in insurance.”

How Can Companies Manage Millennials?

The report provided some advice on managing Gen Y employees – but it also suggested that companies keep in mind the mobility of the generation. It says, “Expect millennials to leave. It’s inevitable that the rate of churn among millennials will be higher, especially since many have made compromises in finding their first job, and this should be built into talent planning.”

Beyond that, PwC recommends that employers make sure to provide ample career development opportunities and give frequent feedback. Terry explained, “Financial services companies are already finding it hard to keep younger workers and this is likely to become even tougher as the job market starts to improve.”

He added, “Millennials want more than ‘just a job’. They expect a varied and interesting career, constant feedback and the opportunity to progress quickly. Their high expectations mean that companies might find it harder than ever to keep their best talent if they don’t adapt their approaches to their development appropriately.”

By ensuring that Gen Y employees see the value in the work that they do and continue to see a path for career growth within the company, employers can work to retain this group of talent, which is expected to account for 50% of the global workforce by 2020.

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