Financial Services: Preparing for tomorrow’s workforce today

Survey findings and priorities for action

About the report

How we work, the place of work within our lives and even what we mean by work are being transformed. What are financial services (FS) organisations doing to prepare? And where do they need to take action?

We collaborated with Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, and identified the most important organisational capabilities for businesses to consider when preparing for tomorrow’s work, workers and workplace. We surveyed over 200 FS business and HR leaders worldwide, as part of a larger study to find out how they are getting ready for the future and the key areas of risk they face.

A question of risk

We asked FS executives to rate the importance of organisational capabilities for the future of their organisation and to tell us where they are taking action today. We identified the scale of risk by using the percentage of organisations not delivering on areas they themselves see as important.

“Organisations need to invest in digital tools to drive people decisions. It’s a ‘no regrets’ move to prepare for the future. But baseline data needs to be accurate. The challenge today is that job descriptions don’t reflect what people do.”

Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC US

Key priorities for FS workforce leaders

Take action on ‘at risk’ areas urgently

FS ‘at risk’ ratings are higher than the global average for all industries for 40 out of 45 organisational capabilities in our survey. This suggests that while FS leaders recognise the importance of preparing their workforce for the future, other priorities are getting in the way. It is important that these gaps be addressed urgently. This includes the scenario planning and employee engagement needed to develop future workforce strategies, align stakeholders, and then deploy and iterate.

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Create a compelling people experience

A great people experience has as much to do with workloads, the working environment (virtual as well as physical) and how management engages with employees, as it has to do with training and other HR-led programmes. Good work is also central: work that is meaningful and fulfilling, with a sense of purpose, a nurturing environment and opportunities for personal and professional development. Employees today demand greater control over how they work. This requires the right balance between autonomy and accountability, being receptive to new ideas, new avenues for collaboration, and supporting the experimentation needed to drive innovation.

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Use workforce analytics

Data analytics can give FS organisations a critical edge in anticipating future talent needs. It can provide insights on how to create a compelling people experience and it can also help to eliminate potential biases in selection, assignment and appraisal. For FS, the survey highlights the importance of recruiting, developing and retaining HR talent with data modelling skill sets, as well as the ability to interpret data and to understand its business implications.

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Tap into flexible talent and ideas

New approaches to engagement are needed to build an ecosystem of independent talent across geographical borders. Priorities include identifying what skills the organisation needs and where people with such skills are found. Organisations need to build a capability to readily harness a more flexible talent mix and crowdsourced ideas.

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Tech-savvy HR needs to step up

FS needs to build HR’s understanding of technological change and its implications. HR should be at the forefront of moves towards greater automation and AI, rather than simply responding to changes in technology. Priorities include bringing HR and business leaders together to assess and manage the impact of new technology on how people operate, engage and feel about their work.

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Get your story straight

It’s important to communicate a clear, compelling and honest story about how changes will affect the workforce, the potential benefits and how the organisation is planning for the future. This includes addressing anxiety about change, which can often erode the confidence, adaptability and willingness to innovate that are so vital in today’s economy.

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Contact us

Julia Lamm

Workforce Strategy, Capability Leader Director, PwC United States

Jon Terry

Financial Services, HR Consulting leader Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7212 4370

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