Seven priorities for the future financial services workforce

Professional workers
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

25 October 2016

The workforce of the future will be increasingly versatile, mobile, digital and automated. To keep up and stay attractive, financial services organisations will need to rebuild trust with their workers, says PwC.

A recent report by the Big Four firm has highlighted seven priorities for making the most of talented people in an evolving financial world.

By 2020, the make-up of the workforce and how it is recruited, organised and rewarded will look very different to today. In turn, the role and function of human resources (HR) will have been overhauled.

To keep up and stay attractive to potential employees, the study claims financial services (FS) organisations will need to develop new ways of finding, attracting and retaining people that move away from rewarding tenure and focus more on contribution to business value.

PwC Human Capital Priorities for Financial Services

1. Rebuild trust and redefine employer brand

Employees are demonstrating a growing desire to work for socially-conscious organisations and this evolution of attitudes is expected to be a major trend in 2020.

In order to successfully hire and sustain a talented workforce, FS organisations should implement a revitalisation of their brands as employers and as businesses to align with new expectations. Building an effective risk culture and embedding behaviours that reinforce the values of personal development, diversity, flexibility and social responsibility will heighten a brand's appeal.

The banking and capital markets sector, for example, may benefit from emphasising links to social responsibility such as infrastructure financing in developing markets and promoting privacy and security to increase trust.

2. Develop dynamic workforce supply/demand models

Varied availability of workers  and industry disruption from advances in digital and automation is predicted to result in a versatile workforce that places a great deal of value on employer flexibility.

A focus on strategic workforce planning will help enable a proactive redeployment of skills and better integrate HR with other areas of the business. Recruitment should be concentrated on workers with multiple skill sets that can be further developed internally to adapt to a variety of roles.

The insurance sector, in particular, may need to take action to combat the talent gaps that are already becoming apparent in a shortage of underwriters and actuaries, as well as addressing the long-term impact of an ageing talent pool.

3. Maximise the potential of digital ‘talent exchanges’

An increasingly digitally centred and competitive jobs market may lead to a shift in power from employer to employee in the coming years.

Organisations that engage with transparent, digital talent marketplaces that provide two-way employer/employee feedback will have a distinct advantage in this scenario.

To improve culture-fit with employees and increase the chance of them staying will be improved by giving the potential employee a greater awareness of life within the organisation. This can be done through shadowing and short-term trials, as well as the development of technology allowing the integration of gamification and virtual reality.

An investment in predictive analytics could help narrow down a candidate pool in, for example, asset and wealth management by screening to identify and prioritise desired qualities.

4. Tackle skills gaps by influencing academic curricula and modernising corporate learning and development

A review of traditional learning and development models to combat skills gaps and drive employee development would help create a suitable workforce in the future.

Employers may soon find it necessary to have a greater involvement in the creation of educational opportunities for incoming workers in order to ensure their skills needs will be met. This can be achieved by working with non-traditional sources of talent, creating apprenticeships and partnering with education institutions.

Investment in customised education toward financial literacy and digital proficiency through the offering of online courses would benefit sectors like banking and capital markets in both attracting and developing talented workers.


5. Digitise the workplace

Automation of simple tasks through innovation in robotics and artificial intelligence is quickly becoming commonplace, with technologies freeing up workers to focus on high-value activities.

This evolution calls for traditional job models to be reviewed, based on changes that result from disruption. The focus from an HR perspective should shift to new capabilities, effective governance and the training or redeployment of displaced employees.

In the insurance sector, automated underwriting is a key example of the potential afforded by new technologies in offering a solution to a looming talent gap created by workers approaching retirement age.

6. Integrate human capital data analytics in priority business decisions

Robust analytical capabilities are needed to make meaningful use of workforce data from both internal and external labour market sources, something which many FS organisations currently lack.

Human capital descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics can inform strategic decision making, therefore, investments in HR technology should include significant data analytics and visualisation capabilities. To promote internal transparency and further data collection, employees should be informed of how data is used and the value it brings to the business.

Asset and wealth managers are already investing in predictive analytics around both customers and employees, including factors that gauge fit in the organisation and likely performance.

7. Redesign jobs and compensation models

The current pay structures of FS organisations that tend to rely on rewarding tenure have come under pressure to change and are not sustainable.

New compensation models that reward high performances and the delivery of strategic business objectives should be designed and implemented alongside aligned organisational frameworks. Revised processes would have the advantage of digital value metrics and measurement techniques in order to ensure a proportional bonus structure.

The overall drive to decrease costs in the banking and capital markets sector would greatly benefit from a value-based compensation model that leads to a leaner operation.

Jon Terry, PwC's Global FS HR Consulting Leader, said: “The FS industry’s reputation continues to suffer across a wide range of stakeholders, including talent, customers, regulators and the general public.

"Talent will readily switch to another organisation that better aligns to their values, or if their experience of working for a company does not line up to the initial promise.

"Leading FS organisations are revitalising their purpose and employer brand to keep pace with the evolving expectations of these stakeholders in key areas such as career paths, diversity, flexibility and delivering value to society.”

Source: PwC

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