Best Bank for Millennial Employees

December 18th, 2018

Best-Bank-For-Mill.pngP.pngew Research Center reported in early 2018 that millennials, who are now between 22 and 37 years old, will surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in 2019. With baby boomers—the youngest of whom are now in their mid-50s—retiring, and Generation X too small to fill the gap, the growing importance of millennials in the workforce can’t be overstated.

Twenty-four percent of the directors and executives responding to Bank Director’s 2018 Compensation Survey said recruiting younger talent was one of the top-three compensation-related challenges facing their bank. Given the unemployment rate is at a 49-year low, it’s a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon—particularly for banks that don’t adapt their culture, hiring practices and the rewards offered to employees.

Bank Director developed two key metrics to understand which of our high-performing banks demonstrated the best approach to attracting and retaining millennial employees. The first is a reputation score. More than 80 percent of millennials are active on Facebook, and more than half on Instagram, according to the market research firm eMarketer. With this in mind, the reputation score was calculated using each bank’s activity on social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube— as well as the number of followers each bank had on those platforms, expressed as a percentage of assets to normalize for bank size. Social media benchmarking firm Rival IQ supplied this data. The reputation metric also included the level of each bank’s social media activity, based on number of posts in 2018 (through August 10), and the average of each bank’s ratings, as of September 2018, on Glassdoor and Indeed, two popular websites for job seekers that allow current and prospective employees to rate employers.

Pew.pngThe second metric is workplace appeal. This was determined by examining each bank’s culture, training programs, and benefits and perks, based on information gleaned from the bank’s websites and social media outlets. (Bank Director also reached out to the banks and included that input in the analysis where provided.)

Each bank was scored on these metrics and ranked relative to its regional peers. Regional winners were then scored against each other to determine the overall category winner. Due to this second scoring, the overall winner’s final score differs from its regional score.

South State Corp. excelled in the South for its ability to attract and retain younger talent, and came out on top in the overall category. South State has a strong social media presence relative to its size, with more than 34,000 followers across platforms. The bank posts on these channels an average of four times a day.

South State has multiple practices in place that appeal to young workers. Its talent acquisition team includes historically black colleges and universities on the list of schools it visits in order to attract diverse talent. The bank offers discounted tuition to two local colleges, as well as external training options and an internal program that includes informal mentoring as well as executive, leadership and career development roadmaps.

For millennials looking to start a family, South State offers maternity and paternity leave, and access to childcare referrals and resources. South State also offers onsite resources to make employees’ lives easier, such as dry-cleaning pickup and car detailing.

First Republic Bank, which is almost as active as South State on social media, is the best bank in the West for millennials. It boasts a high average score on Glassdoor and Indeed, at 3.85 out of 5, compared to an average 3.46 for the group. In addition to extensive training and wellness programs, First Republic offers pet insurance and—of particular interest to employees grappling with student loan debt—a student loan repayment benefit, through Gradifi. The bank liked the student loan-focused fintech so much, in fact, that it bought the company in 2016.

Fifth Third Bancorp edged out Huntington Bancshares as the bank of choice for Midwestern millennial employees. The bank provides a variety of programs attractive to younger employees. One of Fifth Third’s most recent initiatives is its maternity concierge program, launched in 2017. The program offers a bevy of resources to help working moms, including assistance finding childcare, scheduling meal deliveries and planning for expenses. More than 400 employees have used the program and among these women, 86 percent chose to keep working at Fifth Third after taking leave, according to Working Mother, compared to 62 percent for women who didn’t enroll in the program. Millennials are raising families, and benefits like these help them do so while staying employed at the bank.

M&T Bank Corp.’s work in its communities—a cultural trait well-liked by millennials—played a strong role in its designation as the best bank for millennials in the Northeast. Employees are given 40 hours a year paid time off to volunteer in the community—which also contributed to M&T’s overall win in the Corporate Citizen category.

How They Ranked: Best Bank for Millennial Employees

OVERALL WINNER: South State Corp. 1.67    
  1 M&T Bank Corp. 2.00 94,200 3.5
  2 Webster Financial Corp. 2.17 25,100 3.45
  3 Community Bank System 3.00 20,500 3.75
  4 Sterling Bancorp (TIE) 3.83 99 2.9
  4 Signature Bank (TIE) 3.83 134 3.65
  1 Fifth Third Bancorp 1.67 255,000 3.45
  2 Huntington Bancshares 1.83 268,000 3.45
  3 Commerce Bancshares 2.83 39,200 3.65
  4 Chemical Financial Corp. 3.00 14,600 3.55
  5 Great Western Bancorp 5.00 1,940 3.35
  1 South State Corp. 1.17 34,400 3.55
  2 BankUnited 2.33 24,200 3.6
  3 FCB Financial Holdings 3.50 977 3.25
  4 Bank OZK 4.00 13,500 3.3
  5 Home Bancshares 4.33 9,550 3.4
  1 First Republic Bank 1.67 125,000 3.85
  2 Bank of Hawaii Corp. 2.17 41,200 3.7
  3 East West Bancorp 2.67 2,560 3.4
  4 Cathay General Bancorp (TIE) 4.33 1840 3.15
  4 Western Alliance Bancorp. (TIE) 4.33 155 3.25

SOURCES: Rival IQ, Glassdoor, Indeed, bank websites, press releases and other public information

Bank Director Research Group