Over the past several years, many industries have been challenged with the task of learning how to engage a younger audience in order to rebuild their aging workforce. The financial services industry is no stranger to this issue and has been worried by the fact that if nothing changes not only will there be insufficient young talent to replace those who will soon retire, but there is also a lack of diversity throughout the profession. However, thanks to an event at UGA Griffin, the industry is working to change its future.
UGA’s Family and Consumer Sciences hosted the second annual Diversity and Inclusion Financial Planning Symposium on February 28 on the UGA Griffin Campus, with more than 84 participants including seven higher education institutions, 19 community and industry partners and four surrounding area high schools. The event was made possible due to a grant awarded from Institutional Diversity at UGA and aimed to educate those in attendance about a profession with an annual median pay of $88,890 through keynote sessions, a career pathway panel and a speed networking session.
The symposium brought awareness of the demand for a diverse and capable financial planning workforce, while also exposing minority students to the importance of mentors when choosing careers as well as in achieving personal goals and career longevity. Additionally, the conference provided students with an understanding that mentors may come from various backgrounds in academia or professions which was stressed through the “Importance of Mentorship” portion of the program. It emphasized how the right mentor will play a role in nurturing the students’ college aspirations, helping them prepare for graduation and advising them on how to make a successful transition from college to the professional field.
After the keynote session, attendees heard from the career pathway panel, which included representatives ranging from financial planners to UGA graduate students and UGA professors. The panel discussed the different ways students could come to a career in financial planning and answered questions from the attendees.
In addition, participants of the symposium engaged in a speed networking activity which allowed small groups to have discussions with various financial planning firms as well as UGA students who are currently pursuing the Consumer Economics with a Financial Planning emphasis degree. This activity was designed to allow participants to interact on a more personal level with those already in the field.
Throughout the day, the main takeaway attendees gained from the symposium is that financial planning is considered one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. Several demographic trends and market fluctuations have been identified as the main reasons as why this profession will be one that continues to grow in the future. At the same time, financial planning is in dire need of women and minorities in the profession. This is a generational problem that will make recruitment and retention of minority students, women and non-traditional age students a long-term focus for the field.
Special thanks go out to all who participated in the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Financial Planning Symposium: University of Georgia, Gordon State College, Georgia Military College, Southern Crescent Technical College, Kaplan, West Georgia Technical College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Lamar County High School, Talbot County High School, St. Georges Episcopal School, Jackson High School, real estate agents, Georgia Farm Bureau, United Bank, Clement Asset Management LLC, Georgia Department of Early Care and Education, Merrill Lynch, Financial Planning Association of Georgia, TruWealth, Practice Management Consultants LLC, Edward Jones, Elwood & Goetz Wealth Advisory, The Quadrillion, Homrich Berg, Triad Advisors, FPA of Georgia Diversity Committee, American Financial Advisors LLC, Usher;s New Look, 100 Black Men of South Metro and In the Door.