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Investment firms must do more to demonstrate their social impact, CFA warns

CFA instituteThe investment industry must do more to showcase opportunities for graduates to make a difference in society, the CFA Institute has warned.

According to the latest graduate outlook survey published by the CFA Institute, just 7% identified “investment professional” as one in which they could make a social and environmental impact. This is despite 94% of UK finance graduates considering it important to make a positive societal and environmental contribution in their careers.

The CFA institute said that the financial sector must address the gap and raise awareness of career opportunities for finance graduates which help make a positive impact in the world.

Peter Watkins, head of the university affiliation programme at CFA Institute in Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “Graduates may be unaware of the remarkable global trend towards ESG investing and the career opportunities a specialism in sustainability and ESG could offer them in the investment industry.

“We need to show them that investment careers can be rewarding well beyond the traditional attraction of higher salaries.”

The survey of 15,000 current university students and recent graduates from 15 countries found that traditionally stable fields, such as finance, remain attractive for graduates navigating post-Covid times.

Despite the pandemic, 84% of UK graduates who studied accounting or finance at university felt they had good or better career prospects compared to their parents’ generation, higher than the average across all subjects.

The results found that globally, 58% of respondents still feel confident about their future career prospects in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Respondents across all 15 markets ranked finance as one of the top five most valuable majors for finding a career.

Margaret Franklin, CFA, president, and CEO of CFA Institution said that is it “encouraging” to see graduates view finance as a “stable” and “attractive” career path.

“Worryingly, however, graduates currently don’t see the industry as making a positive social impact. This issue is only going to increase in importance, and industry leaders need to make sure we are on the front foot in educating students about the positive impact an investment career can have for people and our planet,” she said.

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