InFocus: Attracting talent to advice is not all about the money

23 July 2021
| By Jassmyn |
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It is no secret that the industry is worried about how many financial advisers will be left by the end of the year and after the education requirement deadline in 2026.

The industry has already seen a huge impact to its numbers with current figures standing at just over 19,000 and it is wondering how and where to attract talent from a shrinking pool. 

During the recent Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) symposium, Deakin Business School program director for financial planning, Marc Olynyk, said there would not be enough students to replace the adviser exodus and that significant shortages were coming through. 

He said employers and institutions would have to pay more for existing advisers and would have to engage with education providers to get future planners into the industry.

While at a surface level, the numbers Olynyk pulled on financial planning students looked promising this was not being transferred into people wanting to become financial advisers. 

He said most students undertaking a financial planning degree were often undertaking a second major and that only 40% of students who had a major in financial planning looked to move into the profession.

Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) student engagement manager, Jemimah McMurray, said that practices looking for new entrants needed to offer flexible study allowances, have a clear graduate career pathway, and that their job ads needed to use terminology job seekers were looking for.

She said for example, practices advertising for junior paraplanners could include that the job had a pathway into the professional year (PY) and that practices needed to be “loud and proud about their options available to attract the brightest minds”. 

However, it seems one of the biggest areas practices need to work on is culture to draw in candidates. 

LBW Business and Wealth Advisors adviser Mitchell Harrison, who had almost completed his PY, said outside of monetary benefits, the most important aspects of a workplace were culture and flexibility. 

“I wouldn’t want to work for a company and earn a significant amount of money if the culture was awful and I felt like I did not want to show up to work every day,” he said.

“Especially with millennials and younger people moving into the industry, the focus is more on flexibility around workplace arrangements with school and study. If you have the right culture and flexibility you’ll do a great job of attracting people in the industry. People will then want to stick around.”

There is one thing going for the financial planning industry to attract candidates and that is having available jobs.

FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori, told Money Management that while the monetary rewards in professions such as law could be good, there was an over supply of candidates and there were many who would not be able to make it as lawyers.

“We need to optimise that advantage that there are jobs today and tomorrow because demand for financial planners outstrips supply, and supply is decreasing,” he said.

“Every financial planning business will take on an adviser if there was one to take on. That is what we have in our favour that the law profession does not – jobs. 

“We can’t compete with massive salaries but we also know that if you are successful in financial planning and run your own practice the sky is the limit.” 

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