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UBS wants 20-somethings for its Chicago operation

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The Chicago metropolitan area, a.k.a. "Chicagoland," has around 10m people, making it the third-largest in the U.S.

Wealth management in the U.S. is not a young man’s game. The average age of financial advisors is around 51 and rising – or maybe even 60 – and by 2022 there could be a shortfall of 200,000 advisors. UBS is well aware of the talent shortage among the younger generation of wealth managers and is stepping up efforts to recruit millennials – in Chicago.

“Hiring millennials is very important to us for a couple of reasons,” said Kim Jenson, managing director and the Chicago complex director at UBS. “For one, the new skills and training they bring to the table around financial planning is a huge area for us in what we offer clients today. A lot of millennials come in with some certifications and training in that area already,” she said.

UBS’s Chicago office, the largest U.S. complex outside of New York, has more than 200 employees, about half of which are client-facing financial advisors and senior leadership. Global asset management and investment banking also have a presence in Chi-Town. The wirehouse’s goal is to attract and retain more talented millennials to the the Windy City.

“We need to reflect a family, encourage our teams here at UBS to consider how they can best interact with a family,” Jenson said. “That involves having multiple generations, including millennials, and diversity on our teams so that we can better relate to a wide range of clients and families.

“We will have a strategic hiring focus for our wealth-planning training program [in Chicago], as well as selectively recruit experienced, well-credentialed, high quality financial advisor teams who are committed to delivering holistic advice, beyond investing,” she said.

It’s tough for employers to earn millennials’ long-term loyalty

Millennials are less willing than baby boomers to work their way up the career ladder slowly and steadily at one company, according to a recent UBS report, preferring to try several jobs – often overseas – before settling on a particular career path.

The UBS survey found that two-thirds of millennials would take a position with the intention of staying for two years or less, compared to only 34% of boomers who said they did so when they were young adults.

“People in my generation got a job, got out of dodge and cut our ties, but millennials remain much more connected, emotionally as well as financially, to their parents,” Jenson said. “Millennials also tend to change jobs more frequently than most boomers did.

The importance of mentorship

One factor that is vital in encouraging talented millennials to stick with their employer is providing good mentorship, either from an individual assigned to be a mentor or a collective effort from senior management to establish a firm-wide culture of mentorship.

“What we see is borne out in research on millennials in the workplace – they’re very interested in mentorship,” Jenson said. “They want to see that someone is there assisting them who is interested in their development.

“They want mentors’ support in leadership skill development, presentations skill development and other professional skills development above and beyond the actual duties of the job,” she said.

Looking beyond candidates’ most recent experience during interviews

To get a fuller picture of candidates, Jenson believes in looking beyond the list of workplace accomplishments on their resume.

“One of the things I do when I interview millennials, I have a habit of starting at the bottom of the resume,” Jenson said. “I ask about their outside interests and community involvement – as part of their high school and college experience many have volunteer and service requirements, so I like to connect that to things we’re doing so that they have an extension of their community interests when they work here.

hire more millennials, UBS

Kim Jenson of UBS

Lead photo credit: RudyBalasko/iStock/Thinkstock; headshot of Jenson courtesy of UBS

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