Why 2024 May Be The Most Important Recruiting Year in Your Bank’s History

Welcome to the new year. Now get recruiting! 2024 has set itself up to be one of the most pivotal talent recruiting years in recent memory. Here’s why.

Since 2020, the job market has been overwhelmingly steered by job seekers, especially in the community bank landscape.  Even though “quiet quitting” and mass layoffs permeated news cycles, the community bank space was somewhat immune.  Candidates with specific banking skills – for instance, CFO track, regulatory, BSA, fintech, even CEOs amongst others – were in very short supply.  Therefore, candidates had the pick of the litter and could even dictate preferential, unique terms for themselves (i.e., location flexibility, higher base salaries, sign-on bonuses, etc.).  This was the unfortunate outcome of a contracting industry that has been experiencing a gradual talent dearth for the last several decades – compounded by the aging-out of executives in droves (oh, and a global pandemic).  The war on talent hit an insane new chapter.

Yet, herein lies the crux of why this year is so important for banks. Industry pundits anticipate M&A activity to blaze its way back in 2025 and 2026.  In doing so, the candidate market gets saturated.  What better way to shop for talent than with locally disrupted bankers? The pendulum will eventually shift back to banks having all the hiring power.  This sounds like a good thing for those trying to bolster their teams – and it generally is – but not entirely so.  Once candidates flood the streets, you can bet on several things occurring.

  • There will be a feeding frenzy for the top-tier candidates and banks will wind up settling for B-level talent.
  • A-listers will opt for better courters who may have more negotiating power.
  • Emerging executive leaders and production team lift-outs will become exponentially more difficult because there are more sharks circling the chum.

Can your bank win over the best of the best if you’re up against several other suitors?  Do you really want to let your bank’s unique story get diluted amongst your peers?

Which brings us back to the current moment and why it’s so crucial.  The tidal wave of mergers and acquisitions is still brewing at this very moment and it’s an optimal time to lure talent.  The calm before the storm is the best time to buy umbrellas!  Here’s what we would suggest.

  1. Be very opportune right now.  Lenders, deposit generators, and key strategic talent are considering changes and are listening.  They desire more empowerment, better communication, and seats at the table.
  2. Assess your team early in 2024 to locate your skill gaps, uncover and nurture high potential future leaders, and pave your succession paths.
  3. Hone-in on your storytelling.  Make sure you stand out amongst your peers.  Focus on your growth trajectory, industry prospective, team collaboration, and vision. Culture and storytelling are key in a recruiting process.
  4. Accentuate your commitment to staying independent.
  5. Brace yourself to go over your hiring budget. Feel assured that being a buyer in 2024 circumvents the headaches and bidding wars of a crowded candidate market. Trust me, you’ll feel better knowing you won the war early.

Travillian’s Banking and FinTech Practice provides Search and Talent Advisory services to depository institutions across the country. Established in 1998, the firm has built a unique platform that touches every corner of the industry. To learn more, click here, or get in touch below!

Brian Love, Head of Banking & Fintech
(484) 680-6950 | blove@travilliangroup.com

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