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How Skills Shortages in Financial Services Can Become Opportunities for Talent Leaders

In today’s highly competitive job marketplace, skills gaps and talent shortages can lead to business ruin. Taking a proactive approach to skills development can make the difference between thriving and surviving. 

Financial services companies in the UK have agreed to work together to address skills gaps through a talent initiative called the Future Skills Framework. A product of the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC), the framework is a major step toward preventing staff shortages in the industry.

“If we [financial services] as an industry don’t come together to create the talent and gene pool that we need, we will be losing more and more of our skills to other sectors, such as technology,” explains Helen Cook, chief human resources officer at NatWest, one of the FSSC’s founding members. 

The talent market post-pandemic is extremely competitive, especially for scarce skills such as highly technical cybersecurity or artificial intelligence (AI) in regulated environments. Digital transformation in all industries has led to a need for specific skills related to data and technology across sectors. The Future Skills Framework is designed to nurture the growth of talent in the areas showing the most shortage, specifically:

  • User experience
  • Machine learning and AI
  • Agile
  • Cybersecurity
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Relationship management
  • Teamwork

A shifting talent landscape

This is only the first step in the next evolution of how companies approach talent. To succeed in this new world of work, companies must become talent-first organisations. 

Young people aren’t applying to financial services job openings or seeing themselves grow in these areas. Many insurance companies are stuck in manual processes because workers and clients fear automation brings cybersecurity and privacy threats. Service providers face pressure to offer flexibility to their workers.

According to the Beamery Talent Index, 81% of the 5,000 employed adults surveyed in the UK and U.S. report the pandemic freed them to look for a new role, and 72% feel confident they’ll be able to find a new position. More than half (53%) admit their interest in pursuing a new role within a year.

Clearly, workers have the upper hand when it comes to talent acquisition. 

3 requirements to become a talent-first organisation

Financial services organisations must adapt to this new talent landscape. Successfully becoming talent-first organisations that not only hire what talent and skills are available but that also think about growing the talent they need (internally or externally) requires three key ingredients:

1. A better understanding of in-house skills 

Knowing what skills you have at hand starts with having a single source of truth for your talent data. The Beamery Talent Data Platform uses more than 1 billion talent-related data points to show connections between candidates — both internal and external — and roles. But it doesn’t stop there. Driven by AI and machine learning, it goes beyond job titles and skills to uncover candidates’ potential in various roles.

The platform can leverage popular technologies such as AI-powered customer relationship management solutions to quickly provide a full talent picture. To get the most out of a talent data platform like this requires making important decisions about how your organisation will build its skills nomenclature. For example, will you develop it internally by inviting employees to self-report? Or will you infer skills from your internal role descriptions and use them as a learning data set for your AI?

 2. A plan to upskill or reskill current employees

Once you’ve settled on your skills nomenclature, you need to create a strategy to retain your talent by upskilling and reskilling them. According to global industry analyst Josh Bersin, hiring an external candidate and training that person can cost six times as much as upskilling an existing employee for a new role. The new hire also “has a potential turnover of two to three times higher than an internal recruit,” he notes. 

By training and developing from within, you can cultivate a culture in which your workers feel appreciated, empowered and engaged. Findings from the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020 report, which surveyed 7,000 talent professionals across 35 countries, found the biggest benefits of internal mobility are that it:

  • Improves retention (81%)
  • Accelerates new hire productivity (69%)
  • Accelerates the hiring process (63%) 

The Beamery Talent Data Platform can help you map skills to roles to create an effective internal mobility strategy. It can also provide insight into skills that can be developed to fill future roles. 

3. Purposeful effort to become an attractive employer 

Today’s candidates give more and more importance to growth opportunities in the workplace. In fact, the Beamery Talent Index found that a persuasive 84% of respondents expect businesses to help with their professional development. 

Incorporating career development into your employer branding campaigns and/or recruiter enablement trainings can make your organisation a more attractive place to work. By mapping skills and showing employee potential to develop new skills, Beamery can help you prioritize career advancement. It can also help with your diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and other efforts that will make your organisation more appealing to job seekers.

Skills shortages don’t have to be daunting. They’re actually opportunities for talent leaders to improve the ways they attract, engage and retain talent. As FSSC Chief Executive Claire Tunley summed about the Future Skills Framework, “It’s all about a shift toward an ongoing culture of learning and development that the sector really needs to get behind.”

Learn more about how Beamery can help you address these and other talent challenges.