Addressing talent shortages within financial services organisations

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Jordie Black
January 19, 2024
Updated on:

Finding and retaining top talent has become a major challenge for businesses across all industries. However, this issue is particularly prevalent within the financial sector. As technology continues to revolutionise the industry and consumer demands evolve, financial companies are facing a severe shortage of skilled workers who possess both technical expertise and business acumen.

This talent gap poses significant obstacles for HR professionals in recruiting and developing top-notch employees for their companies. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind the current talent shortage within financial companies, discuss how it impacts HR strategies, and provide solutions to effectively address these challenges. 

The Talent Crisis in Finance

Financial institutions are facing difficulties in hiring and keeping their staff. A detailed study from Cornerstone Advisors found 9/10 hr teams within banks are having trouble with this. 

These difficulties are caused by several factors. First, the finance industry is changing quickly. Second, there are new technology needs. Third, what employees want from their jobs is changing. These issues affect how financial companies operate daily and their plans for growing in the future. As a result, businesses need to come up with new and effective ways to attract and keep skilled people.

  • Rapid Changes in the Finance Industry: The finance sector is evolving quickly. This includes new financial products, changing regulations, and increased competition. Financial services businesses need employees who can adapt to these changes and help the company stay competitive.
  • Evolving Technological Requirements: Technology is playing a bigger role in companying. This means organisations need employees with digital technologies, cybersecurity, and data analysis skills. Finding people with these skills can be challenging.
  • Shifting Employee Expectations: The way people view work is changing. Employees now often look for more than a salary. They want a good work-life balance, career development opportunities, and a positive workplace culture.

HR teams in banks

Shortage of Skilled Finance Professionals

The need for more skilled finance workers is a big issue for the finance sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that around 715,100 new jobs in business and finance will be needed in the next decade.

  • Reasons for the Increase in Jobs: These new jobs are due to several reasons. Part of the growth is from the finance sector expanding. Another reason is many current workers will retire or leave their jobs, creating vacancies that must be filled.
  • Demand for Specific Skills: There's a particular need for professionals who understand finance and are skilled in digital technology. This is because the finance sector is increasingly using technology in its operations.
  • Consequences of Not Addressing the Shortage: If this need for skilled workers isn't met, the finance sector might struggle to adopt new technologies effectively. This could hinder their ability to meet customer needs.

To tackle this challenge, firms should focus on hiring new talent but invest in training their existing staff. This dual approach can help them build a workforce capable of meeting the evolving demands of the finance sector.

New jobs in finance

Job Security Matters

Job security is crucial in retaining staff in the finance sector. A Randstad study found over half of employees, around 52%, are significantly concerned about job security and potential layoffs

The finance sector, like many others, is influenced by economic fluctuations and technological advancements, which can create instability. If employees feel uncertain about their job stability, it can negatively impact their performance and morale. 

Therefore, it's important for organisations to provide a stable work environment and focus on more than salary. Effective communication about job security and opportunities for career development are essential. Organisations that prioritise job stability and the well-being of their employees are more likely to maintain a satisfied and efficient workforce.

Percentage of people concerned about job loss

Competition for Talent in the Digital Age

The competition for tech-savvy talent in the finance sector is intensifying as the industry becomes more digital. Here's a detailed explanation:

  • Digital Integration in Finance: Financial services are increasingly incorporating technology into their operations. This shift towards digital finance means there is a growing demand for employees who are skilled in both finance and digital technology.
  • The Dual Skill Requirement: Organisations are now looking for a unique combination of skills in their employees. They need people who are not only proficient in financial concepts and have strong digital skills. This includes knowledge in areas like data analysis, digital security, and digital product management.
  • Competition with Tech Firms: This demand for dual-skilled professionals places companies in direct competition with technology companies and startups. These entities are seeking individuals with similar skill sets, making the talent pool even more competitive.
  • Strategic Hiring and Training: To meet this challenge, companies need to adopt a two-pronged approach. Firstly, they need to hire individuals who are capable of leading digital initiatives. Secondly, they must invest in training their existing staff. This training should focus on updating their digital skills and ensuring they remain relevant in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. 
  • Building a Balanced Team: By successfully hiring new talent and upskilling their current employees, companies aim to build a workforce that is tech-savvy with a deep understanding of finance. This balance is crucial for companies to thrive in the digital era, allowing them to innovate and stay competitive.

Innovative Hiring Approaches

To meet these challenges, companies need to think outside the box for hiring. Starting early with career and internship programmes can bring in new talent. Focusing on showing what the organisation stands for and how it cares for its employees can also attract more people. It's important to talk about the organisation's values and culture because these are what potential employees look at. 

Tactics that highlight a positive work environment, chances for career growth, and a good work-life balance can effectively draw in talent and build loyalty.

Embracing Flexible Work

Flexible work within finance companies

Flexible work options are now a big deal for attracting and keeping staff. The World Economic Forum's report indicates more workers want flexible working arrangements. businesses that offer flexible hours, remote work, or hybrid models can stand out in the job market. 

These options help meet the different needs of employees and promote a better balance between work and life. Flexible work practices can lead to happier employees, less turnover, and a wider talent pool.

Career Development Paths

Offering training and career development is critical to keeping staff. Employees who see clear career paths and learning opportunities within the organisation are more likely to stay committed. Businesses should invest in structured career development programmes, providing ongoing learning opportunities and clear progression paths. 

This helps keep talent and improves the team's overall skills, matching the organisation's strategic goals.

Job roles in Finance

According to a study conducted by Finextra, an independent newswire and information source for the fintech community, 90% of respondents emphasised the importance of development for job roles. 

Surprisingly, the study revealed that within five years, 40% of employees who were not provided with development opportunities in their organisation ended up leaving their positions (Finextra: Why Continuing Professional Development is key for Financial Services).

Strong Benefits Packages

Competitive benefits are crucial for attracting and keeping the best talent in finance. Benefits packages that go beyond pay significantly influence an employee’s decision to join or stay. 

These might include support for further education, health and wellness programmes, and family-friendly policies. Businesses should recognise employees value benefits supporting their professional and personal well-being. A well-thought-out benefits package sets a company apart in a tough job market.

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Culture

Creating a workplace culture that embraces diversity and inclusion is increasingly important. A diverse and inclusive environment attracts a broader range of talent and fosters innovation. Firms should create a culture where diversity is celebrated and everyone feels valued. This approach improves the company's reputation and creates a more dynamic and creative work environment.

Addressing the Skills Gap

To tackle the skills gap, firms are turning to reskilling and upskilling. As a McKinsey Global Survey highlighted, this is crucial for most organisations facing skill shortages. 

It's not just about filling current vacancies; it’s about preparing the organisation for future changes in technology and the market. Firms should evaluate their skill sets, identify gaps, and develop targeted training programmes. This ensures the workforce stays adaptable and ready to meet the evolving demands of the finance industry.

The finance sector is at a turning point. Adapting to modern hiring and retention methods is essential for staying competitive in a digitally-driven world. By tackling these challenges with informed and practical solutions, the finance industry overcomes current staffing problems and sets itself up for future success.

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