Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association
If you find yourself prone to worrying, these last few years have given you plenty to fret about. From the pandemic to the economy, war to political infighting there is no shortage of topics to keep your mind busy and your heart racing. And when it comes to banking, there seems to be one particular area of concern—recruiting and retaining young professionals.
Banks, like many other businesses, are in the midst of a “war for talent.” Although this term was first used in the 1990s to refer to a shortage of high-level executives, it has recently been co-opted to address the need for workers at all levels of an organization. And that need isn’t a surprise. In 2021, a record-shattering 47.4 million people voluntary left their jobs.
The banking industry is feeling the impact of The Great Resignation as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 24% of the American workforce is over 55. And it is a safe to say that a significant number of bankers fall into that category. With an aging workforce, bank executives must focus on identifying and training the next generation of industry leaders.
That’s where the TBA can help. We are constantly focused on building a strong future for the banking industry. One way we are doing that is through providing the best in education for all levels of the bank. We have seen a sharp increase in participation at TBA events as banks invest in employee training. But well-rounded professional development requires more than just technical training. There is also a need for building relationships with peers as well as leadership development. And there is no better way to do that than through involvement in TBA’s Young Bankers Division.
The Young Bankers Division was created in 1960 by a group of young banking professionals who understood the value of developing the next generation. Since that time, thousands have participated in Division events like Leadership Convention, Day on the Hill, financial literacy efforts, and The Southeastern School of Banking—all programs focused on personal growth, peer networking, and professional development.
Like many aspects of our industry, the Division has evolved over the years to meet the current needs of our future leaders. Under the leadership of Young Banker Division Chairman Justin Nipper, a strong board of directors, and TBA’s Caroline Latham, the Division is focused on strengthening its core programming while creating new opportunities for peer networking and professional and leadership development.
This year has seen a significant increase in participation at Young Banker programming. The first-year class of this July’s session of The Southeastern School of Banking welcomed its largest class in more than a decade. In March, we had a record attendance at Day on the Hill as our future leadership advocated on issues facing our industry.
The Young Bankers Leadership Convention in Memphis in April welcomed 60 first-time attendees and had the largest crowd in a decade. The networking opportunities at this event provided attendees from across the state an opportunity to build relationships within the industry while developing professionally.
In order to recruit and retain the next generation of bankers, we must invest in the relationship building that is essential to success of our industry. And there is no better way to do that than engaging your future leaders in the Young Bankers Division.