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The challenge of paraplanner recruitment

  • By Jason Stockwell

Heat Recruitment has been partnering with several of the UK’s financial services providers for over 12 years yet finds that recruiting paraplanners remains one of the hardest roles to fill. Here they give some practical tips to boost your success in attracting the right candidates

Recruiting paraplanners is no easy task in the current market. With most financial planning firms looking to have paraplanners with the Level 4 Diploma or candidates willing to work towards this, there is a shortage of experienced and qualified candidates available.

This is partly due to the RDR, where hundreds of professionals decided to take a different direction or take a step back from some of the more technical roles within the profession. Also a factor is that there seems to be a lack of understanding of the paraplanner role, with some still seeing it as little more than a varied administrative role and a route into advice and others as a highly technical, crucial part of the financial advice process.

When it comes to recruiting paraplanners, there is a real shortage of qualified candidates. As a result, there has been quite an increase in paraplanner salaries over the last few years as demand exceeds supply. Candidates are often left with multiple job offers from firms and have the luxury of picking which firm to join. Whilst that is great news for the candidates themselves, it can mean that firms are having to really pull out all the stops to secure the paraplanner they want to recruit.

We are now beginning to see more firms offer increased flexibility or home working options for these types of roles given that it is not necessarily a client facing position.

And finally, financial planning firms know how competitive the paraplanner market is. They are doing whatever they can to keep their existing support staff and paraplanners happy and fulfilled so that they stay working within the business. Of course, if they sense that they may want to be on the move, it means it can be even harder to attract top talent to fill the position once someone leaves.

The growing shortage of paraplanners at all levels will continue to push salaries upwards, with even partqualified paraplanners now able to command significant uplifts on their current basic earnings.

So, how do you recruit a paraplanner? Here are a few factors you may wish to consider:

  • Salary – Understand the range of salaries offered within the market place. As this is ever changing and highly competitive, it can be surprising to discover what other firms may be offering.
  • Benefits & Perks – Are there unique factors for being a paraplanner within your business? Examples of attractive features you might consider offering may be things like being able to attend client meetings, flexible working, progression to advising, exam support, etc.
  • Time – Move quickly. Often good paraplanners will have several interview requests within a few days of deciding to see what options are around. It is imperative that you try and speak to them and also to see each candidate as soon as possible before they set their heart on joining another firm.
  • The interview process – Paraplanners can end up with multiple firms wanting to see them or pushing them to come along for interviews and discussions. We often see candidates leaning towards those financial planning firms that they get a ‘good feeling’ about as they aren’t looking to keep jumping from job to job, but rather to find a firm that will fit well with them for the long term. Be patient if they want to weigh up different options as often candidates are surprised at ending up in a position with multiple interviews/job offers available to them.
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