On the outside, coming in

I saw a statistic recently which indicated that around a third of people who change job also change industry. It would be interesting to see the statistics for the advisory sector.

Are a third of jobs filled by people from outside the industry? If not, why not? Not that many years ago the industry had a poor reputation, increased regulation and the increased levels of professionalism have changed, or at least started to change, the public’s perceptions. But have they changed enough to attract people from other professions?

However, firms wanting to recruit ‘new people’ from outside the industry not only have to face up to the possibility of such negative perceptions, they also have to consider challenges such as how do you find non-industry people? What jobs can they do without the relevant qualifications?

Fast cars and commission

During the ‘loadsamoney’ era, companies recruited young, fresh-faced graduates with the lure of fast cars and large commission cheques. Today, while the money – as with most jobs – may be key for some, the industry is more mature and people are less naïve, or maybe they are just more realistic.

Graduates are again being targeted by some advisory firms. Others are also targeting those with degrees, but ones who are already working, but in other industries. So how do you attract people to work for mortgage firms who currently work outside of financial services? And just how do you counter any negative perceptions?

To take the second point first, individual firms can’t, of course, change the nation’s view of financial advisers. Events of the last few weeks, with the problems of Northern Rock making the news, may tarnish the industry’s reputation and discourage some from considering a move into financial services. On the other hand, some say there’s no such thing as bad publicity and perhaps the industry may now be better understood than ever.


Whatever the impact, mortgage firms looking to recruit can do their bit by making sure that they portray themselves in a professional manner. The interview process should mirror the individual’s experience with his or her current employer. Explaining what the company does in clear, straightforward language can only help – after all, some would-be employees may have no idea what a mortgage broker really does.

Attracting non-industry people is a real challenge and can be compared to finding new clients. Advertising in trade publications is obviously unlikely to work – unless the individual has already decided that he or she wants to work in financial services and has taken a lifetime subscription to Mortgage Introducer. With the best will in the world, this is unlikely. However, if the statistic is right and a third of people do change job and industry, mortgage firms looking to recruit shouldn’t be put off. There are people out there who want a new challenge. Advertising in the local paper may work, however it tends to be expensive.

Like finding new clients

I compared recruiting to finding new clients and there are many similarities. Just as some firms find new business success through networking, some use the same route to find new employees. The advantages are clear; it’s cheaper than advertising, it gives you the opportunity to explain what you do properly, and you can get to know the person before you even get to interview stage. Plus, if you’re attending events local to you, the chances are you’ll be meeting people who are also local.

Of course, before you recruit these new, fresh to the industry people, you and they need to be sure exactly what they are going to be doing. What is their career path? In this respect, taking on non-industry people is more difficult. Recruiting an adviser from another firm to be an adviser with your firm is clearly easier. However, isn’t it good practice to have a clear structure in place? And people from outside the industry may just bring with them new ideas and thoughts that could just benefit your business.

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