Diversity is really important in the world today, especially to younger, socially-conscious generations. As a result, diversity and inclusion are vital to businesses, perhaps now more than ever. The finance sector has had a problem with lack of representation in the past, but that is starting to change – and if you want your business to keep up with the times and appeal to the next generation of professionals searching for jobs in the financial services industry, it’s essential that diversity and inclusion are front and centre of your business strategy.
Diversity in the Financial advice industry
Finance professions are notorious for consisting primarily of white males – but this lack of diversity and inclusion presents an opportunity for forward-thinking firms to future-proof their firm and get ahead of the competition. As the great wealth transfer continues and assets shift from the boomer generation to younger generations, we will see a greater need for diversity. For starters, women outlive men, meaning women will be the first to inherit much of the wealth, and the racial gap is closing too, with the 38 to 54 age group predicted to be just 52.4% white by 2035. This means diversity is essential if you want to future-proof your firm. Here’s why:
Appeal to the modern worker
Young people today search for jobs in the financial services industry at companies which align with their values – which includes firms that employ a diverse workforce in terms of ethnicity, gender, culture, background and more. According to a recent report, 86% of respondents said that an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion was important when deciding whether or not to work for that employer, yet 71% feel that despite organisations talking about diversity, opportunities aren’t really equal for all. The advisers of the future appreciate diversification and want to work for exciting, forward-thinking companies – so by creating a diverse workplace, you can attract the hottest financial talent of the future and retain existing members of staff who are glad to be part of an exciting company too.
Attract diverse candidates
It’s a well-known fact that women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the financial advice profession. Traditionally, financial advice and wealth management has been a male-dominated industry, with estimates suggesting that female advisers are outnumbered by male counterparts by a ratio anywhere from 10:1 to 6:1. But while financial services often talk about wanting diversity and change, for true diversity to happen, we need to stop seeing women and people from different ethnic backgrounds as the minority or token members of a panel. In order to gain true diversity and balance, firms need to welcome people from all societal backgrounds, of all races and skin tones and factoring in disability and other differences, too.
Appeal to your clients
Another benefit of having a diverse workforce is that it helps to attract a more diverse group of clients. In today’s world, potential clients come from all walks of life – and the more the make-up of the advice industry reflects the wider population, the more likely you are to attract a mix of clients. If advisers are going to provide high-quality financial advice, they need to appreciate different experiences, perspectives and values. Appealing to a range of different personalities, experiences and knowledge means you can understand your clients more easily – something that is incredibly important as financial advice becomes increasingly holistic.
We’re not saying that female clients only want to work with female advisers, that ethnic minorities only want to work with ethnic minorities or that the LGBT community on want to work with LGBT advisers. What we are saying, though, is that increasing diversity in your organisation can create a greater feeling of inclusion among your client base. Success is built on establishing long-lasting, highly-personal relationships, and bringing together people with diverse backgrounds and experiences can allow for more creativity and better solutions for both the firm and its clients.
Diversity adds value to a firm and can also increase revenue and profit. In fact, a recent Forbes study identified workforce diversity and inclusion as a key driver of internal innovation and business growth, and according to McKinsey, companies with diverse executive boards enjoy significantly higher earnings and returns on equity. In fact, three-quarters of those surveyed who were monitoring gender diversity in their business saw profit increases of between 5% and 20%. This is because working cultures that take into consideration and embrace all backgrounds have been proven to build a more efficient and happier workforce. What’s more, supporting diversity in the workplace opens you up to a bigger talent pool, too.
Make sure you walk the walk
If you want to future-proof your firm, you need to really believe in diversity and inclusion and the benefits that it will bring to your workforce. Essentially, you need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk: ensure the right language is used in your workspace and create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable to all, and also consider creating an inclusion programme that supports an inclusive culture. Everyone has a need for financial advice, yet few people in the general population seek it out because of the negative perceptions around the ‘old boys club’ of financial planning. However, if your firm champions diversity amongst those providing advice, your potential clients will likely see themselves reflected in these advisers and feel more comfortable accessing their services.
Diversity at Recruit UK
At Recruit UK, diversity is incredibly important to us and we are proud to not only have a diverse workforce with equal opportunities for everyone, but we also recruit without bias too. For us, it’s all about matching the right person with the right skills to the right jobs in the financial services industry – so if you want to find out more about our holistic approach to recruitment and how we can help you find the best financial talent to future-proof your firm, contact Recruit UK today.