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We need to do more to recruit new blood into our industry

Publication date:

08 April 2024

Last updated:

08 April 2024


Carlos Thibaut, Chair of SMP board

We all know it, we are an ageing profession. But despite some good initiatives, the problem is worsening. I was truly shocked by a recent article that said out of 35,109 individuals authorised to give mortgage advice, only 536 are under under the age of 25. The picture is just as bleak in investment advice. More than 30% of authorised mortgage brokers are over 50, and the trend shows no signs of improvement. Unless we do something, we will have a serious advice gap as an ageing population demands more access to professional advice.

We all have to do our bit to broaden our appeal to young people and reach out to a broader section of the community. All good businesses should have an ESG policy in place and this should include a D&I recruitment policy. Good businesses should reflect the demographics of their community and target market. Research increasingly suggests Gen Z believe they can source financial advice on social media (44% in a recent study), and 20% of investors between 18 and 34 use Instagram for advice. In order to engage with our clients of the future, the industry needs young people to engage with their peer group and create engaging, jargon free content to remain relevant to younger generations.

So, what can we do as an industry?

The CII runs Aspire Apprenticeship programmes that are easily accessible for businesses. Both the PFS and SMP offer a range of Apprenticeship Programmes for businesses to use as part of their workforce development programme and recruitment strategy. In addition, resources are available to support businesses to engage with local schools and colleges to promote the benefits of financial understanding and the benefits of careers in the industry.

It is clear that more needs to be done and all businesses have a responsibility to actively promote the benefits of financial advice and careers in our industry through engaging with local schools and colleges.

I also believe we need to engage with government more effectively, both centrally and locally, to promote careers and recruit members of the younger generation. We must also broaden our appeal from a D&I standpoint, including those from less advantaged communities and different backgrounds. It surprises me that, on the Government sponsored Skills Bootcamp programme, there are no programmes in place to support the development of our industry. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) runs Sector based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPS) promoted through local job centres, there are none related to our profession. Job centres run regular job fairs throughout the country, apart from some banks, I see no representation from the advice profession.

It is imperative that we do more to grow our profession to ensure we stay relevant to future clients. Without proactive work from the profession as a collective, a serious advice gap in coming years remains inevitable.