Recruiting Finance Talent in a Competitive Labor Market: 10 Lessons From Successful Banks & Fiduciary Firms

The labor market is more competitive than it has been in years. Firms in virtually every industry are struggling to find qualified candidates — or any candidates at all — to fill open roles.

The shortage is particularly acute in professional service industries. Finance talent, for example, is at a dear premium these days, and smaller employers find themselves at a disadvantage. The best candidates naturally gravitate to the most attractive opportunities — usually at larger firms able to pay well above market rate and offer clear paths for advancement.

What’s a smaller financial services firm to do? If you’re looking to staff up your boutique firm this year, these 10 strategies will help you stand out from the pack and attract top-tier talent.

  1. Conduct a Truly Global Search

Finance talent is global. So must your search be.

If you’re hiring for a midlevel or senior role, conduct a truly global search. That’s what Asiaciti Trust did when it needed a new managing director for its Singapore operation, and the gambit paid off — Asiaciti Trust hired one of the European wealth management community’s top performers, relocating him from Switzerland to Singapore.

You can pull off something similar, but you’ll need to commit to a transcontinental recruiting process. And you’ll need to follow the rest of this advice as well.

  1. Create a DEI Framework (And Actually Follow It)

Financial services firms tend to be small-c conservative. They invest in what they believe will be profitable ventures and shy away from apparent boondoggles.

One of the biggest misperceptions among financial services employers is that DEI is a boondoggle. Quite the opposite: a robust DEI framework is a powerful recruiting tool, one that’s liable to drive more high-performing talent to your doorstep and make the hiring process that much easier.

Not sure where to start? Review JPMorgan Chase’s DEI template for finance firms and customize it as you see fit.

  1. Leverage Your Existing Employees’ Professional Networks

Your current employees are your best recruiting asset. Their professional networks are potential gold mines for your talent search; even if you need to formally post the open position, you might not need to rely on walk-ins to create your shortlist. 

  1. Reengage With Key Alumni Networks

Alumni networks are nearly as powerful as professional networks. Between the C-level executive team and the board of directors, your firm’s leadership should have access — at least in theory — to a diverse array of A-level financial professionals, and to headhunters who know where to find them.

If it’s been some time since you actively engaged with your own network, make it a priority. And remember to reciprocate; you’ll be more likely to get help when you need it if you’re seen as a good-faith operator.

  1. Tap Current Employees As Your Organization’s Ambassadors

Your employees are an absolute gold mine for another reason: they’re ready-made brand ambassadors. 

Conduct regular companywide surveys to gauge overall morale and engagement, then tap employees whom you know to be particularly engaged as public-facing representatives. They might staff job fairs or trade show booths, appear in recruiting literature, or publish content touting your company’s value proposition to potential employees — whatever works best.

  1. Be Willing to Hire Remote Talent

We’re not going back to the way things were before the pandemic, at least not with regards to remote work.

Which means your organization must be prepared to allow new hires to continue living and working where they’re currently based. If your institutional culture can absorb this change, you’ll find it carries financial benefits — namely, avoiding relocation costs and paying remote employees what they’d earn in their home markets, not your (potentially higher-cost) market.

  1. Offer Ultra-Competitive Compensation Packages at All Levels of the Organization (And Don’t Skimp on Remote Employee Compensation)

That’s not to say you should skimp on compensation. 

It’s not enough to offer pay and benefits in line with what your peer employers offer for similar roles and seniority levels. In a tight labor market, that’s the bare minimum.

Go above and beyond by offering above-standard compensation packages at all levels of the organization, including for your most junior hires. The more employees you have to replace due to meager pay, the more you’ll spend on recruiting and training in the long run, and the less momentum you’ll generate for the goals you need to accomplish.

  1. Generate “Earned” Buzz Around Your Culture & Compensation

You can’t manifest positive media coverage out of thin air, but you can lean on your industry’s influencers when it matters most.

In the context of recruiting and talent management, that means publicly — and proudly — differentiating your compensation, benefits, and culture from your competitors. The more you talk about your industry-leading parental leave policies, for example, the likelier you are to get the people who matter talking about it.

  1. Look for Opportunities to Poach From the Competition

These days, poaching talent is the norm; the gentlemen’s agreements of the past are no more. Be attuned to how your competitors are doing and be ready to pounce if you have reason to believe they’re struggling with attrition or low morale.

  1. Develop a Recruiting and Vetting Process That Reflects Your Brand

From the job post to the interviews to onboarding, your recruiting and hiring process doesn’t have to be buttoned-up just because you’re in finance. Unless that’s the image you want to project, of course.

These processes are future employees’ first impressions of your company — and first impressions for those who don’t make it through the vetting process too. Make sure they reflect your culture and brand and leave a good taste in participants’ mouths. 

You Deserve the Best — Don’t Settle for Less

Will these 10 financial services recruiting tactics guarantee your next hire is an absolute rock star?

No, of course not. But if you take them to heart, you’ll find it easier to find and woo top-shelf talent in an historically tight labor market.

That means:

  • Conducting a truly global search
  • Implementing and living by your firm’s DEI framework
  • Leveraging current employees’ professional networks and alumni networks
  • Using current employees as brand ambassadors
  • Dropping relocation requirements
  • Offering competitive compensation
  • Strengthening your company brand and developing a recruiting process that reflects it
  • Poaching talent from competitors

None of this is rocket science, but it does require a steady hand and diligent execution. And there’s no time to waste.