Young people are more interested in becoming financial advisors when they learn what the job is really about rather than what they perceive it to be, says the new Recruiting Redefined study by Fidelity Investments that was released earlier this autumn.

To combat that misperception, the CFP Board of Standards Inc. and Fidelity Investments have joined forces to create a CFP Board Career Center to increase the interest of young people in the profession and draw more of them into it.

They are teaming up because Gen Y college students and young professionals don’t appear to be very interested in the financial advice profession. The Fidelity study found that only two out of 10 college students and young professionals surveyed are familiar with the financial advisor profession. After learning more about the job, nearly half say they would consider it.

Recruiting Redefined included Gen Y college students and young professionals, career influencers, new advisors and firm hiring managers.

“There is a looming talent shortage in the profession,” says Kevin Keller, CFP Board CEO. “When you consider there are more CFP professionals over the age of 70 than there are under the age of 30, it points out the need for an all-out recruitment effort.”

Put another way, Jylanne Dunne, senior vice president of practice management at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, says, “For every eight advisors who retire, there are three to replace them. Our efforts are about refreshing the talent pool.”

Based on the findings of the survey, Fidelity suggests that firms look outside the financial planning world to other related fields for candidates to recruit.

Firms should reframe what the job entails and emphasize the planning aspect rather than pitching it as a sales position, the study says. After reading a job description that de-emphasized sales and was more aligned with attributes Gen Y candidates are looking for, such as a balance between work and life, 51% of students and 40% of young professionals surveyed found being an advisor more appealing.

If job candidates do not have certifications when they are considered for advisory positions, the firm could provide pathways to certification, the study added.

Sixty percent of college students surveyed could not name a firm that employs financial advisors. The study suggests that Gen Y advisors should be the ones to help raise awareness because 80% say they find the field intellectually gratifying and it lets them help people, attributes that Gen Yers are looking for.

The new career center Fidelity and the CFP Board are developing will provide information on the profession, how to train for it and how to obtain a job. The CFP Board has relationships with 240 colleges and universities that it will use to help promote the program and recruit young people, Keller says. It will be accessible through the CFP Board Web site early next year.

“The truth,” says Dunne, “is that the looming talent shortage in the advice industry is no longer looming––it’s here, and the typical approach to recruiting is no longer effective. It’s time that we redefine our recruiting efforts so we can begin to make real progress that could benefit the profession for the long term.”

The study included four focus groups and 600 respondents to an online survey.