Money Problems Also Mean More Financial Services Jobs

Prudential Financial seeks ethnic and gender diversity in new hires.

The job losses in North Texas stretch from blue-collar, minimum-wage positions to white-collar workers making six figures.  Replacing that kind of income is challenging, but there are opportunities available in the financial services industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall employment of financial analysts and personal financial advisers will increase by 37 percent during the 2006-2016 decade.

It predicts personal financial advisers will be among the 10 fastest-growing occupations. The BLS found that in May 2006, the highest 10 percent of financial analysts earned $130,130 while the top 10 percent of personal financial advisers earned more than $145,600.

Locally, Prudential Lone Star Office in Irving is hiring.

"People are scared, so they're needing to talk to financial services advisers, and industry-wide, there's not enough. So we're hiring," said Prudential Diversity Relationship Manager Catherine Simpson.

And in Prudential's case, there is an aggressive effort to diversify the work force, Simpson said.

"Part of the diversity strategy is because Prudential believes in reflecting the community we serve," she said. "So if community is African-American, Hispanic or Indo-Asian, that's what our agency needs to look like."

Derreck Lewis, 25, of Little Elm is part of the company's new effort.

He was laid off in June from an inside sales job for a veterinary supplies company. Two months later, he was part of the Prudential team at the Lone Star Office in Irving as a financial services associate.

"I called people I knew, see who they knew, spread around online career searches as well, and stumbled across this," Lewis said.

Prudential starts its financial services associates with a 10- to 12-week training program and a stipend of $5,000 to $6,000.

After two years, Simpson said, the goal for these associates is a six-figure paycheck and soon after, their own agency.

"Right now, I'm 100 percent commission, which means unlimited earnings," Lewis said. "It's all me, myself and I."

Gender diversity is also important to Prudential. It's one of 13 companies that will be at Career Day for Women on Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Suites Hotel in Arlington from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. hosted by the DFW chapter of Women in Insurance and Financial Services.

"Our chapter members want to help other women become successful in this industry, because we have become believers in what we do and why we do it," said Nancy Rash, a WIFS spokeswoman. "We want to help with the unemployment problems in the DFW area, and we decided this Career Day would be a great way to put career-minded women with the companies that are willing to hire and train them."

Simson said a recent survey by Prudential Financial revealed women make 82 percent of the financial decisions in the home and underscored the need for women in the financial services industry.

"Women live longer than men, and they're going to end up with the finances, so we need women to talk to women," Simpson said.

People interested in Saturday's Career Day for Women can contact Nancy Rash at 817-996-3262. Those interested in more information about jobs at Prudential Financial's Lone Star Office in Irving, can call 972-910-0040.

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