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What financial advisers really want in a job offer

Career opportunities are being spurned, despite the lure of big-money bonuses

Despite offers of increasingly large pay packets and bonus incentives, advisers are frequently turning away from job opportunities where the company will not make sure the culture fits their need, according to a new white paper.

Alex Russon, managing consultant at Heat Recruitment, which has just produced fresh research into the market, says financial rewards no longer suffice, with advisers pushing for offers that will allow for both the hard- and soft-skills nature of the role. Research from BWD and Money Marketing last year found average total earnings for employed advisers reached £93,100 in 2017, up from £81,500.

But advisers want bespoke recruitment offers that will take their professional and personal circumstances and wishes into account, Heat has found.

Russon says top-tier talent remains difficult to attract, with the personal side of advice translating into a steeper “emotional gamble” for advisers tossing up whether or not to leave one firm for another.

He says: “A job change for an IFA represents a significant shift; it’s an emotional decision that likely rests on a raft of factors that transcend remuneration. IFAs will prefer a candid approach from employers; they aren’t going to be sold by pretty pictures and enticing job ads alone.”

Would-be recruiters should focus on getting to know candidates, creating personal propositions and keeping potential employees engaged throughout, Russon adds.

“Building an attractive offer is only half the battle. Considering the emotional nature of the transition, your aim is to make the recruitment process as seamless, simple and smooth as possible. Force candidates to jump through unnecessary hoops and they’ll likely lose interest, and fast,” he warns.

Vertically-integrated advice and fund management firm Tavistock Investments was one of many firms pointing to a shortage of high-quality adviser for hire in its annual results in November.

The results read: “A great reliance on the use of external recruitment agencies has been necessitated as adviser recruitment has proved challenging right across the UK.”

Despite that outlook, a number of advice firms and networks including Prudential and deVere Group will be targeting sizeable increases in advice staff this year.

Proactive recruitment specifically targets would-be employees based on their personal preferences, says Russon.

He notes: “Financial advisory firms are feeling the pressure of a dwindling talent pool and a shortage of specialist skills as competition heats up. Gaining the edge over industry rivals today requires a proactive approach to recruitment.”

Bournemouth-based IFA Kevin Forbes says: “[Apprenticeships] tend to be regarded as whimsy but only a fool wouldn’t have noticed demographic issues facing the adviser profession and the lack of entrants into new roles.

“Appetite for change seems low in recruitment but it’s the area that needs the most attention.”

Creating a positive culture that feels personalised could also help advice firms attract new workers.

Russon says: “Headhunting the best candidates in the market means welcoming advisers into a firm’s culture; make them feel from the first impression that they are in the right place, even if the recruitment has only just begun.”

Attracting advisers from inside a firm rather than through a large agency can be advantageous however, allowing employers to spend more face-to-face time with potential employees.

Russon says firms should begin by working out what an adviser’s main incentive would be for leaving their business and work from there.

He adds: “Building a bespoke proposition and attractive offer requires real insight into what motivates IFAs to do their best.

“It may even be the case that the next job they take will be in a firm that places distinct importance on the health and wellbeing of their employees.”

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