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6 Essential Facts About Recruiting For Financial Institutions

Adrian Dixon

June 28, 2018

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As the finance sector continues to be a strong source of economic growth, recruiting for financial institutions faces a new set of challenges.

recruiting for financial institutions

Among the highest levels of demand for talent for financial institutions are tech- and data-related roles such as data scientists and quantitative analysts. This means institutions such as major banks have new competitors for talent.

Here are the 6 facts recruiters need to know to successfully hire for today’s financial institutions.

Watch our video on 6 tips to help you successfully recruit for today’s financial institutions:

1. Recruiting AI and automation is becoming common

The financial sector is an innovation leader. In Canada, 74% of financial services firms have undertaken some form of innovation compared to 64% for other sectors.

The biggest innovation in tech right now is artificial intelligence and intelligent automation. Financial institutions are on the forefront of leveraging the transformative benefits of this technology. For example, RBC recently won two Model Bank Awards for its digital and AI integration for customers and employees.

Interest in AI isn’t limited to customers and existing employees.

AI is the #1 topic of interest in recruiting. Financial institutions’ drive for innovation coupled with already using AI in other departments means they’re uniquely positioned to reap the benefits. This is both in terms of increase efficiency as well as increasing their quality of hire (e.g., reducing turnover, increasing sales revenue).

2. New competitors for talent include startups and the fintech sector

As we move towards a digital and AI-first world, candidates with technical skills are in hot demand across all industries.

This means large financial institutions are not only competing for talent with each other, they may be losing recruits to tech-based companies like startups as well as emerging fintech sector.

When asked why they left a job in a traditional financial institution to work for a startup, many people list greater learning opportunities, less bureaucracy, and the chance to work on projects they feel passionate about.

In response, forward-thinking banks have started modifying their workplace and culture to offer these types of perks to candidates. For example, Scotiabank recently launched their Digital Factory that houses 350 tech roles under one roof.

Along these lines, banking culture is changing to become more casual and modern both to reflect the needs of their changing customer base as well as the needs of today’s candidate pool.

3. Compensation is still a key driver for candidates

The perception that people are attracted to the finance sector for monetary reasons isn’t untrue in the sense that in order to attract candidates, you need to show them the money. Offering a competitive salary is increasingly important not only to compete with other financial institutions but for competing with the startup and fintech sectors as well.

One reason is that salary growth is healthy in the banking and financial services sector. Within the same company, raises average 4% while the raise offered to move to another company averages 9%.

4. A strong employer brand is a competitive differentiator

Today’s candidates have a consumer mindset: they want easy access to information and they want it on demand. This has made it harder to attract and engage with candidates. On the flip side, the ones who are interested in your company tend to be better informed and self-select into your recruiting process.

A big competitor differentiator that’s emerged from this increased access to information is employer brand. A strong and clear employer brand is one that communicates your unique employee value proposition.

An impressive case study on how this financial institutions can leverage this is RBC. RBC found that the candidates they wanted to attract prioritized an innovative, creative, and friendly environment that provided development opportunities. There was a disconnect because their recruitment marketing wasn’t highlighting these key benefits of RBC’s culture.

They rolled out a new employer branding campaign with a strong focus on opportunities for innovation, a culture of creativity, and supportive leaders on their new new website, social media, and other recruitment channels. Within a year, RBC’s ranking as an employer among tech talent in Canada jumped 25 positions.

5. Diversity remains a top priority

Diversity and inclusion is a top recruiting priority across industries but for financial institutions, there’s an especially strong incentive for their workforces to reflect the diversity of their customer base.

Currently, there are many strategies that financial institutions are adopting to increase diversity among their candidates. These include unbiasing job descriptions, to using technology like AI to screen candidates to help reduce unconscious bias, to structured interview training.

6. Social media is being underutilized for recruiting

The impact of social media on recruiting can’t be denied with 95% of recruiters using sites like LinkedIn to source candidates. However, a survey of new recruits by the Boston Consulting Group found the finance sector isn’t taking full advantage.

80% of the respondents said they would visit the social media profiles of a bank to look for a job or an internship, 9% of the respondents actually applied for a position after they saw it advertised on social media, but only 2% of the survey respondents found their last internship at a financial institution through social media.

This represents a huge opportunity for financial institutions to leverage this clearly underutilized channel to communicate their employer brand and encourage candidates to self-apply.