Skip to content
Log in
Early talent trends, Employer spotlights

How Charles Schwab builds a bridge to the future with early talent

Despite rocky macroeconomic outlooks, Schwab knows early talent is the path to a brighter future. Learn how they're investing in tomorrow's leaders and customers.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, they’re hoping to apply to organizations that align with their values and invest in growth. Employers are relying on Gen Z to bring innovation and fill the skills gap. Employers and Gen Z are standing on opposite sides of a ravine, knowing they have what they need, but they can’t always reach.

That’s where Charles Schwab has been building a bridge — and seeing remarkable results. Their intern and early talent programs provide Gen Z with the skills, experience, and exposure students need. In return, those students bring thought diversity and become a pipeline of full-time hires that share Schwab’s values. Instead of competing for experienced talent, they’re growing their next generation of leaders.

“At Schwab, empowering others to own their tomorrow is in our DNA,” Rob M., Managing Director of Talent Solutions at Schwab, explains. “Through our early career programs, we provide talent the opportunity to make a meaningful impact and chart their course from day one. We are committed to investing in top talent through coaching, mentoring, and championing to help every individual develop capabilities for today and long into the future.”

On their journey to becoming the largest financial services firm in the world by 2023, developing early talent is one of the main pillars of their strategy. We sat down with Schwab’s Senior Campus Team Manager for Talent Acquisition, Jamie K., to learn how.

early talent brings innovation to Schwab

Investing in early talent paves the path to innovation

Schwab has navigated many market shifts over its 40-year history, and they know how to turn learnings into guideposts. Despite bleak macroeconomic outlooks, they believe early talent is the path to a brighter future. “Growing our future leaders is the prudent long-term investment,” says Jamie. “Developing students through our programs fill our workforce pipeline with high-quality talent who already understand our client’s needs and share our values. They tend to be more engaged, get promoted faster, and stay longer.”

While the average time at a company for Americans ages 25 to 34 is 3.2 years, Schwab’s program alumni are launching mentorship programs, leading engagement teams, and planning for leadership roles within 5 years. In just one example, 9-week internship program alumni Hannah E. was highlighted for her 3-year progression from entry-level associate to manager in Talent Acquisition. Her story is just one of hundreds as Jamie adds, “when we hire students at the start of their careers, we maximize our ability to develop and nurture our future leaders.”

The upfront investment has long-tail and multi-faceted returns for Schwab’s customers too. “Early talent brings innovation and diversity of thought.” Jamie explains, “We want to hire a workforce that will reflect what our client base will look like in the next 10-20 years so that we are innovating in ways that make an actual impact and serve our customers better. They fill the skills gaps we need to achieve our technology goals. Their questions and ideas reveal new, more optimized pathways for us to continuously improve.”

Driving quality pipeline at scale

Headwinds or tailwinds, stability is a key baseline and value for Schwab (which is music to Gen Z’s ears). Just like clear signage on a highway helps traffic to off-ramp toward the right destinations without losing speed, Schwab’s programs are directing talent toward roles that will help the organization hit its goals.

To dive into how their team achieves this, Jamie explains that, “the programs are designed for a blended experience where new Schwabbies work on business projects and engage in peer-to-peer learning, events, financial training, and culture development. They get to meet with executives, and students are exposed to different roles, which helps further ensure that our full-time role pipeline is full of qualified candidates.”

This well-oiled machine came from years of building with student and employer needs in mind — and continuously improving. In 2014 they piloted the program with 100 interns, today that has grown to 480 with 14 business lines represented. That growth is paying off. They’ve historically offered 70-75% of the class full-time roles, and 70-75% accept, which is well above the program’s goals. Through clear expectations, open communication, and values-driven recruitment, Schwab’s talent team is building incredible programs that can scale and secure success for the whole organization.

Schwab builds sustainable talent pipeline

You are here: Starting where the students are

Gen Z isn’t just looking for jobs. They want careers. That’s why Schwab’s program profiles communicate exactly how they’ll develop talent and what students can expect. But that's just one example of how Schwab ensures their brand connects with Gen Z.

Additionally, Schwab recruits year-round. “Students graduate from college 3 times a year,” Jamie points out. “By understanding that, we can build a stable pipeline that doesn’t react to market shifts. We can also onboard all at once, which saves time and resources. We can hire more early talent, provide more opportunity, and secure growth.”

Many teams can relate to the in-person versus virtual career fare whiplash brought on by the pandemic. “Last year, we were doing 10% in-person events and 90% virtual. This fall that flipped.” Jamie shares, “With the constant change, we need to ensure we’re reaching students and measuring our impact. Throughout segments of the candidate funnel, we’re using Handshake to analyze what events are most attractive to students, what events lead to higher campaign engagement, and what schools we see the most student engagement or ROI from. We use that data to enhance our campus strategy. Overall, Handshake enables our team to maximize our investments, time, and impact.”

Using data and feedback, Schwab meets students where they are to attract the top talent they need for their future.

Schwab measures in early talent impact

Start your growth journey with early talent

In these times of market uncertainty, it’s essential that organizations don’t pull back from early talent but lean in.

Schwab leads with their values as they build out programs that meet the needs of both the business and early talent hires. With Handshake, they continue to up-level their programs with proactive outreach, skills-based targeting, and personalized follow-ups that make career fairs even more successful.

From end to end, they make sure they are transparent with applicants, giving them that sense of stability Schwab has to offer from the start. The result is qualified candidates for their programs that, in turn, become qualified full-time candidates that turn into Schwab’s leaders of tomorrow.

Handshake is here to help you on your early talent recruitment journey. Connect with our team to learn more.

Recruit smarter with Handshake

Stay up-to-date on the latest early talent trends.