Culture trumps money for top advice grads

Despite debates raging around remuneration of financial advisers, the industry’s newest entrants are more motivated by corporate culture and values, new research has found.

According to newly-released research conducted by graduate recruitment firm Grad Mentor in partnership with Zurich, top-performing higher education graduates entering the financial advice industry are primarily incentivised by factors that may surprise some practice principals and licensees.

“[Australia’s major cities are] expensive places to live, and so clearly financial compensation matters to a certain extent, but it didn’t come up [in the course of our research] as often as flexible work conditions, aligned values or lifestyle factors,” said Alisdair Barr, founder and director of Grad Mentor, at a press conference in Sydney on Friday. “To remain competitive, firms need to take a fresh approach to compensation.”

Millennial advisers are attracted to employers that allow for flexible work conditions, ongoing professional development and education, a culture of innovation and technology adoption and a sense of social purpose or community involvement, the research found.


Recruitment of top Millennial talent is a major focus for financial advice practices looking to grow long-term businesses, Mr Barr said. In addition, this demographic is increasingly sought after because of their high levels of formal education, tech literacy and gender and cultural diversity, he added.

At the same time, there is still a lack of understanding of financial advice among top-performing high school students, Mr Barr lamented, with most high-quality industry entrants more likely to become acquainted with the profession until already studying in tertiary business schools.

This lack of exposure to the industry is a far greater hurdle to attracting top talent than negative perception due to media coverage or political commentary, Mr Barr said.

Zurich head of marketing and communications Richard Dunkerley said his organisation’s support of the Grad Mentor research reflected its commitment to seeing top talent enter the financial advice profession.

Culture trumps money for top advice grads
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