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How to win the war for top tech talent

Sharon Florentine | July 11, 2017
By emphasising engagement, purpose and innovation, the financial services industry is showing how to beat Silicon Valley at its own game.

That strategy also has been successful for Matt Morgan, head of people at home buying technology company Blend, who has increased headcount by roughly 40 percent since starting at Blend in September 2016. Morgan’s approach to hiring focuses on emphasizing the company’s mission and purpose and candidates’ ability to make a major positive impact on the lives of end-users and customers, and that focus has helped in attracting talent from industry titans like Facebook and Box, as well as top institutions like Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University, Morgan says.

“What tech companies offer, first and foremost, is the ‘we can change the world’ mentality, which people are really looking for. And we have a really exciting purpose to our business if you think about it — we’re making people more productive, financially secure and successful, as well as making consumer finance more transparent, so that brings people in the door, and of course we have a lot once they’re here to keep them happy and engaged,” Morgan says. 


Culture is important

That’s extremely important for today’s tech professionals at all seniority levels, according to new research from Kronos and FutureWorkplace. While salary and benefits still matter, the results reinforce the notion that CIOs need to take a page from Silicon Valley’s playbook and focus on culture, mission, purpose and values.

According to “The Financial Industry” survey, which polled 806 U.S. financial services employees at all seniority levels conducted between March 27 and April 4, 2017, flexibility, philanthropy, meaningful work, transparency and innovation emerge as the defining issues that matter most to this multi-generational workforce.

“One in every four respondents from the survey say they would rather work in the technology industry. So, what can financial services do about that? They have to focus on the employee experience and on culture,” says Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at Future Workplace, and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.


Money still matters — but isn’t everything

What does that look like? It means going beyond compensation and benefits — which are still important to current and potential employees, according to the survey — and focusing on other factors employees care about.

When it comes to what makes an attractive employer, 69 percent of employees responding say competitive wages; 68 percent say a good benefits package; 52 percent say flexible work arrangements; and 51 percent say opportunities for career advancement. But according to the survey, despite wages and benefits topping the list, 76 percent of employees say they are driven by more than just money when they seek a new job. In fact, 73 percent say they need to see what a company stands for before joining and 52 percent of employees say they need their company to have a strong philanthropic mission.


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