How to rebrand a career in finance

January 17th 2022 | Posted by Phil Scott

The Baby Boomers who have taken up finance roles, especially at senior level, in recent years are heading towards retirement, as are some professionals for the early Generation X years.

This leaves the way clear for later generations to come through and take ownership of the financial direction of organisations.

The issue this causes for the finance world is that Millennials and those from Generation Z have different priorities to their parents and grandparents. They are also often more inclined to choose careers in areas such as tech, computer engineering, and machine learning. It’s a challenge for the finance world which often has a “boring” reputation to attract talent. This makes rebranding essential.

The difference in outlook between generations

For any rebrand to be successful, there needs to be an understanding of the difference in outlook between generations. For example, historically, a career in finance has been popular due to considerations such as high earning potential, further study opportunities and job security.

Professionals in the finance sector have often been willing to work exceptionally long hours in exchange for these benefits. That situation has changed as younger generations are more interested in work-life balance and health and well-being and are not willing to sacrifice these factors. The recent pandemic restrictions have brought this into even clearer focus as people have begun to see the benefits of working from home and are keen to embrace hybrid working on an ongoing basis.

The simple fact is that the rebrand of roles in finance must include areas such as flexibility, well-being opportunities and continuous learning as well as other major concerns for more recent generations such as diversity and ethics.

It’s no longer sufficient to wave a generous financial package at people and expect to attract top talent. Benefits such as distance working, flexible hours, and health and well-being initiatives are a must have. This change in focus paves the way for finance start-ups to achieve success thanks to their adaptability and innovation. Established larger firms may find it harder to adapt their processes. Success may require the redesign of processes, procedures, and culture.

Changing focus of the finance role itself

Changing priorities for potential finance professionals is not the only challenge for organisations. They also need to embrace the changing role of the finance discipline overall. The function has evolved from being mostly rear looking to being forward thinking and integral to strategies and change within an organisation.

The good news is that this evolution could help to secure the interest of younger generations given the importance of technology in making strategic decisions. The idea of a career in finance is more appealing when it’s seen as agile and dynamic rather than purely a number crunching exercise.

Organisations have the opportunity to attract top talent by presenting finance roles as exciting and making a real difference. Add to this a package which represents a good work-life balance in a diverse and ethically aware environment and the rebrand is complete.

If you are an FD/CFO looking for your next role, register with us. If you are on looking to hire a Finance Director or CFO, get in touch.