I’m a baby boomer, a part of the generation born after World War II. My career in the mortgage industry started with working along side boomers. Boomers are independent, resourceful, goal-oriented, and competitive, among other things. Then “Generation X” appeared and I began working with them in the mortgage profession. They were the latchkey kids. Self-reliant. Technology savvy. Skeptical. A little pessimistic.
Now the Millennials have arrived. What is a Millennial and what does it mean to my company?
Researchers and the press are still tossing around the definition of a Millennial. Lazy? Screen-addicted? Entitled? However they are defined, they are hard to ignore. There are 80 million of them, age 20-32, in the U.S. spending $300 billion annually. By 2020 they will make up 50% of the workforce.
What is a little strange is that the mortgage industry doesn’t seem to have a group of mortgage advisors that can relate to this generation. The average age of a mortgage consultant is over 50. I began wondering, how we can broaden our reach to this new generation of staff and client market?
A recent Deloitte study of the Millennials showed by the end of 2020, two out of three of them expect to move on from their current employer. In other words, when they start they already “have one foot out the door.” Employers in the mortgage industry will need to understand this workforce and create original approaches to persuade them to come to work and stay.
So what are the top 3 steps the mortgage employer must take or understand to attract Millennial talent?
- Define the mortgage business in terms of people and opportunity, not process.
Millennials are motivated to help causes and other people, not institutions or profit. We need to explain that nothing is more satisfying than being in a profession that helps others realize the dream of home ownership. A mortgage professional provides the critical step to home ownership, to raising a family, and to be part of a community. By doing this we also create the loyalty they seek from an employer.
The study showed that Millennials want to develop in their careers. They seek leadership opportunities, mentoring, and training. They want to get promoted. The mortgage employer who shows them a vision into their future has a much better chance to retain the ambitious Millennial and grow the market.
- Mortgage employers need to be flexible in the way they present HOW we do business.
The survey showed that 88% of Millennials are not satisfied with the levels of flexibility in the workplace. They are peer and social network connected, not location connected. The mortgage culture is built on technology and flexible work schedules (there ARE real deadlines, but those are more in the processing side). In “the old days”, a meeting with a loan officer had to happen in the office or in their home. Now borrowers can apply online making it easy to adapt to everyone’s schedule. Status notices are now sent via email rather than relying on the phone.
We should be able to explain the work-life balance in the mortgage industry and how our business fits right in with their needs. Providing a little flexibility to live a life can go a long way to promote our business.
- Align the profession with the Millennial’s need to be part of a cause.
Another study by the Millennial Project found a top need for Millennials is to be associated with a cause. They want to lend their knowledge, experience, and time to help something bigger than themselves. Millennials are passionate about issues. They want to expand their network by meeting like-minded people. They want to expand their expertise. The study concluded, “Millennials don’t enjoy feeling taken for granted, and they desire important leadership roles in causes they care most about, even if they can’t commit large financial donations presently.”
Again, the industry is loaded with volunteer opportunities and civic causes. If a mortgage professional is not already taking advantage of being in organizations like the Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, park district, church, or school, they should be.
This business has been rewarding beyond money for my family and my employees. I want to provide employees a meaningful, substantive career that will reward a new generation of staff seeking a genuine desire to help people. I want to reward them by providing a career not a job. I want to reward them as they search to be part of something bigger than an office space.
Please take a look at AFMSI.com for more information on American Fidelity Mortgage Services Inc. Other blog posts can be found at themortgageking.wordpress.com. We are also on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.