Financial services facing skills 'timebomb'

The vast majority of HR executives in financial services believe their companies are facing a tech skills shortage, according to a new report.

Research commissioned by people analytics company Visier found that 84 per cent of HR leaders in UK firms in the sector believed their businesses were facing a skills issue.And just over two-thirds said a lack of suitable candidates was holding back their company’s digital transformation strategy, with most suggesting the skills shortage would take more than three years to fix.“The financial services industry is sitting on a skills ticking timebomb," said Daniel Mason, vice-president EMEA at Visier."As financial services companies settle into their new ways of working, whether that is remote, office-based or a hybrid approach, they can’t afford to overlook the biggest threat to their ability to grow - skills."It should be a wake up call to the industry to see that a huge proportion of HR teams believe the industry’s skills shortage is holding back mission-critical transformation."Mr Mason said that, to keep pace with customers’ constantly increasing expectations for digital services, businesses needed a complete insight into their staff’s capabilities and identify where gaps need to be filled."Investing in learning opportunities and upskilling current employees will reduce churn and boost competitiveness,” he added.HR concerns over skills were reflected in the attitudes of staff, with 55 per cent of financial services employees saying they were worried their careers would stall if they did not develop additional skills.But a similar percentage of workers said their workloads affected their ability to train and learn new skills. And only 59 percent were confident their employers were hiring the right people to keep pace with clients’ expectations for digital services.“An employee’s work-life balance and salary has always been a driving factor for moments of change in jobs and careers. However, we are increasingly seeing the consequence that a lack of skills training is having on an individual’s career and we are not surprised to see that many are concerned about the impact it will have for future employment and personal growth,” said Mr Mason.“As financial services businesses go through yet more upheaval to the ways they are used to working, they need to be conscious of other factors that can impact the retention rate of their employees, and in addressing the skills gap head-on to drive digital transformation.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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