You've heard the warnings before: the advisor ranks are graying.
Yet little progress has been made to mitigate a widely accepted problem that could snowball into a talent crisis. More than 70% of brokerage and RIA executives say there is a shortage of new advisors to replenish the ranks, according to a new survey by Fidelity.
The survey suggests the industry may need to rethink its approach to hiring new talent as prospective employers and employees may be looking for one another in the wrong places.
Nearly two-thirds of executives said that referrals and word-of-mouth was one of their top strategies for finding new talent for their firm. Meanwhile, millennial job hunters prefer looking for employment prospects through social networking sites, according to a previous study by Fidelity.
Only 14% of executives surveyed thought social media was an effective tool to find fresh blood for the firm.
One possible reason for the talent shortage: misperceptions about what financial advisors really do. At a recent SIFMA conference on hiring next gen advisors, several executives suggested this was a major roadblock to replenishing the advisor ranks.
"I think we are second to the bottom in terms of [millennials] wanting to join the industry," Racquel Oden, head of advisor strategy and development at Merrill Lynch, said.
Some firms are trying to refine their pitch. Angela Ruffin-Stacker, first vice president of Diverse FA Strategy and FA Integration & Growth at Wells Fargo Advisors, said her firm is putting more effort into communicating its message through social media sites such as LinkedIn.
"I think some of the traditional ways that we've recruited might not be the best way to meet this generation," she told audience members at the conference.
According to Fidelity's survey, two-thirds of industry leaders said that their firm's culture was their primary way of differentiating themselves from their competitors when recruiting new talent.
About half of those surveyed emphasized their brand. Only a third of executives said that their firm's growth was what made them unique.
Fidelity conducted its survey last month and polled 132 executives.