As credit unions have started to confront the decline in young adult membership, most of the conversation revolves around getting new members through the door.
It’s easy to consider the search for young adult gains, however, as a marketing challenge. Tweak the products and get the right message out, and everything will be better, right? Yes, for a while.
A little deeper into the challenge you’ll find a thorny HR problem. Young adults don’t want to work at credit unions. They certainly don’t object on principle, but credit unions are just not on their employment radar.
Consider Filene’s late 30 Under 30 group. Of these two and a half dozen rising credit union stars, not one had considered working for a credit union before they landed their first job at one. Once they did, however, many of them were hooked.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that, according to recent Filene research, employees younger than 30 and those with higher levels of education are less committed to credit unions. The causes of that disconnect are unclear, but if you can’t get future leaders to buy in, how do you get your membership to buy in?
So what’s a credit union to do to attract next year’s shining stars?
Here are four places to start:
1. Get on campus.
Whether at a job fair, through the career resources office, or working directly with professors in classrooms, credit unions almost everywhere need to raise awareness. Nearly 70% of interns receive full-time job offers upon completion of their internships, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. If you’re not offering an internship, you may never even see many of the best students.
2. Cater to them (to a point).
As with sales, recruiting needs to emphasize the benefits to the prospect. A recent Net Impact/Aspen Institute national survey
of MBA students showed that three factors far outpaced all others when candidates were asked to name what’s most important in a job:
- Work/life balance (56%)
- Challenging and diverse job responsibilities (51%)
- Compensation (49%)
It’s not possible to reset the credit union’s professional needs, but it is important to emphasize — for MBAs, college grads, or any prospective young professional — how the credit union is competitive on these three fronts.
3. Emphasize social responsibility.
Doing right by customers and contributing to the community is increasingly important among young professionals. The fourth most important employment factor from the survey above was “potential to contribute to society” at 32%. If priorities one through three are in place, credit unions have a clear case to make around social responsibility. In a private survey commissioned by Filene, credit unions were identified as the second most responsible financial institutions, behind only microfinance non-profits like kiva.org and Grameen Bank. Not everybody gets excited about social responsibility, but for those that do, it’s a key differentiator.
if you’re credit union is in one of these 10 cities
, you’ve got a little recruiting head start.
Ben’s session A Seat at the Table: Young Adult Directors and Board Advisors will be one of three break out sessions held on Friday, October 23rd from 10:15 am – 11:30 am at the upcoming CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Las Vegas, NV