Fit to compete: Accelerating digital workforce transformation in financial services


The financial-services (FS) industry has a pervasive problem with its workforce. In PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, 54% of FS chief executives said that skills shortages hindered their firm’s ability to innovate effectively. These companies are investing vast amounts of money in digital technology. They are compelled to change, if only because of the disruptive threat of new digitally enabled competition. FS firms are thus modernising their technology systems, boosting innovation, automating to drive down costs and adapting the user experience to meet the rapidly changing expectations of their customers. Yet no amount of digital investment can help them fully attain their new financial and productivity goals when the workforce is stuck in analogue.

This comprehensive report is for leaders of the financial-services industry who need to think about every aspect of workforce transformation. It draws on the experience of many banking, insurance and wealth management firms around the world, with recognition of the challenges that remain and the work still to be done. Drawing on PwC’s own experience in digital workforce transformation, we describe ways of building skills through apps and gamification. We also explain how to measure the return on investment (ROI) for upskilling endeavours, which is extremely significant for the continued success and evolution of the process. We conclude with foundational steps for workforce transformation in the financial-services industry, explaining how an FS business can immediately begin to raise its capabilities and ensure that it is fit to compete.

Workforce transformation

Putting a digital workforce into place is as much a matter of winning hearts and minds as it is of strengthening specific skills. As we’ve shown in this report, digitisation is ushering in a new kind of FS organisation and the workforce demands that come along with it. The new FS professional combines agility and digital fluency with core skills, along with a readiness to embrace the future.

Where does the transformation begin? All organisations have different starting points, market demands and strategic aspirations. Yet six foundational steps are common to every effort. These don’t focus just on learning and development, but also on winning workforce buy-in on a sustainable basis by creating opportunities to apply new skills and drive innovation.

Six foundational steps

Determine clear digital workforce goals

Tell a powerful story about the value of digital upskilling

Choose a focussed launch point

Connect the programme with the rest of the organisation

Prepare for headwinds

Measure your progress and drive towards sustainable results

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Contact us

Bhushan Sethi

Strategy&, Principal, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377

Julia Lamm

Global Workforce Strategy Leader, Principal, PwC United States

Jon Terry

Global Financial Services People and Organization Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 7720 555397

Chris Box

Global Workforce Risk Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 4957

Nicole Wakefield

ASEAN People and Organization Leader, Partner (on secondment in Asia), PwC Australia

Tel: +65 6 236 7998

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