Key talent findings in the financial services industry

20th CEO Survey

Rethinking people strategies

Technology, regulation and changing customer expectations are challenging traditional business models within financial services (FS). And with this comes a whole new set of skills and organisational demands. Bringing people strategies up to speed with disruption and change is an opportunity to innovate, differentiate and engage more closely with customers. The risks of falling behind are highlighted by the 72% of FS CEOs who see the limited availability of skills as a threat to growth. 

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New skills, new people

Financial Services CEOs see significant changes in the skills and types of people they need. While demand for data analysts, robotics engineers and other tech specialists is clearly growing, it’s just as important to ensure that leaders understand the possibilities of today’s ever more sophisticated technology. And as automation gathers pace, the value of skills that can’t be replicated by machines is increasing. FS CEOs now rank adaptability and collaboration on a par with traditional FS skills such as problem-solving. Yet, creativity, digital capabilities and emotional intelligence are surprisingly low down the list of prized skills given the vital importance of innovation and customer-centricity in today’s marketplace. Ultimately, the future workforce will see human and machine working side-by-side, which calls for a whole new way of thinking, operating and collaborating – we explore the key developments shaping talent priorities over next five years and the strategies for managing them in The power to perform: Human capital 2020 and beyond

More informed workforce planning

Sixty per cent of FS CEOs are rethinking their HR function, but only 48% use HR analytics to find, develop and keep people, and only 10% to a great extent, even though this would improve their ability to anticipate changing circumstances and respond proactively. Just as the ways FS organisations manage customer relations are evolving, talent management is also set to become more data-driven. As FS organisations rethink their HR functions, it’s important to ensure investments in HR technology include robust data analytics and visualisation capabilities. It’s also important to recruit and develop HR talent with data modelling skills, as well as the ability to interpret data and understand its business implications. 

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Dealing with upheaval

Nearly two out of three FS CEOs see lack of trust as a threat to growth. As the CEO Survey highlights, questions over trust have been heightened by digitisation and globalisation. These concerns underline the importance of rebuilding trust, re-connecting with society and making globalisation work for all. Within the workforce, many FS employees are worried about how headcount reductions and the impact of automation will affect their jobs and future roles. There are also concerns over the impact of regulatory and political upheaval. In this time of uncertainty and disruption, the importance of informing, assuring and engaging with staff has never been greater. A defining aspect of leadership will be how well CEOs communicate their vision for the future of the organisation and bring their workforce together behind it. And a key element of FS organisations’ social responsibility is the support they provide for the people they re-assign or let go. 

Diversity as a differentiator

Eighty five per cent of FS CEOs promote talent diversity and inclusion, enabling their organisations to broaden their talent pool and bring in the fresh ideas and experiences needed to foster innovation. In a competitive job market, transparency around progress on diversity can also strengthen the brand with customers and potential recruits. Yet barriers to diversity remain in areas ranging from the difficulties of winning buy-in from middle management to a tendency among leaders to favour people like themselves for promotion (‘unconscious biases’). Experience shows that policies can’t overcome these barriers on their own. What’s needed is a change of mind-set that stretches from more agile ways of working to how performance and potential are judged. And it’s important to back this up with targets for inclusion (e.g. promotion) and tracking progress to ensure this is an organisation-wide priority. 

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Explore the data

To what extent do CEOs think technology will change competition in their industry over the next 5 years?

Contact us

Jon Terry
Partner, Global FS HR Consulting Leader
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7212 4370
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Harjeet Baura
Partner, Asia FS HR Consulting Leader
Tel: +852 2289 2715
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Chris Box
Partner, EMEA FS HR Consulting Leader
Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 4957
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Bhushan Sethi
PwC US, US financial services, HR consulting lead
Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377
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