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Millennial Hiring Risk

I touched on this at the start of this chapter, but let me use another example. It highlights both the expectations of the next generation of employees you might hire and the needs that your firm might have.

I had an opportunity to talk some time ago with students and professors of Texas Tech University's personal financial planning program – the largest degree program of its kind in the United States. The students were at varying stages of their careers (see Figure 4.3):

■ Heather Ford, 26, plans to grow her financial planning practice by working with her mother's accounting business.

■ Jeremy Ransom, 24, a military vet who returned to college to get a degree.

■ Phanay Binford, 37, an undergraduate pursuing a dual MBA and PFP.

■ Dustin Parks, 43, a career changer from the information tech industry.

Their professor, Barry Mulholland, stressed the importance of preparing them to use and understand social media's use while remaining compliant.

“We have a divergent group of people in the industry, including established advisors looking at who will take over their business and move it forward,” he said. “They're turning to young people who look very different from the industry. We're preparing our students to use social media so that they're ready to enter a very dynamic industry.”

Student Heather Ford pointed out that having a strong social media skill set is “something we can offer our employers.”

Dina Katz, CFP and assistant professor at Texas Tech, adds that the program is looking at trying to get more aspects of technology into the financial planning business. “Whether our students become entrepreneurs, marketers, or financial advisors, social media is a vital part of their business – or should be,” she says.

It's no secret that recruiting young talent is a challenge. The average age of a financial advisor hovers around the mid-50s in the United States. We're not seeing the same flows of talent into the financial profession as we once did. If we don't recruit this innovative talent, we risk losing the next generation of advisors – a disservice both to them and to the industry.

So, if you consider young people emerging from America's colleges to be an asset, then you won't want to undervalue their knowledge of social media – and you may even want to leverage it.

The bottom line: Top leaders and big-brand companies are moving forward swiftly. Sure, firms are asking themselves if the risks of social media are worth the benefits. But as Callison, Schwab's vice president of communications compliance, put it to me: “We're doing it because we hear from our reps and advisors that that's where they want to be: They're missing part of the discussion or missing opportunities if they're not on social media. If we don't, others will have an advantage.”

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