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3 workforce trends of the future for the finance industry

05 / 04 / 2018
Workplaces across the world are transforming, as millennial expectations, technological advances and corporate social responsibility fundamentally change the way business is done. 

London is the financial services capital of Europe and - according to one index - the world. But with Brexit looming, and wider political and economic shifts taking place, the UK must maintain its grip on talent to remain in the top spot.

TheCityUK and PwC have therefore teamed up to offer their vision of how the nation can continue to be a world leader in finance against the backdrop of business disruption. 

Predictions for the future

In a new report, TheCityUK and PwC suggest a number of changes. They claim these adjustments would lead to a nine per cent jump in gross value added to the finance industry by 2025, as well as a £43 billion increase to the national economy.  

As recruiters, we were keen to find out what predictions there were for workforce trends in financial services. Let's recap what the report had to say: 

1. Job growth will occur in regional centres

We recently wrote about the ongoing movement of jobseekers and employees out of London and into other regional centres across the UK. The report's authors believe this will continue in financial services over the coming years.

Domestic banking and insurance firms will increasingly relocate their headquarters to Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and other major cities. Meanwhile, the FinTech ecosystem will grow in Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, among other locations.

Specialist areas of the finance industry will also become more regional. Edinburgh is already known for wealth and asset management, and cyber security is also likely to see growth north of the border. 

2. Skills shortage will deepen 

TheCityUK and PwC argued that the finance industry has struggled to adapt to the changing needs of a young and diverse workforce. 

Millennials demand opportunities to learn and develop, while prioritising fulfilling work. These characteristics differ from previous generations and have resulted in financial firms failing to attract and retain top talent due to perceptions of heavy workloads and a lack of flexibility within the industry. 

Just one in ten young professionals in the sector expects to remain in their role over the long term, compared with 18 per cent across other industries. The proportion of MBA graduates from leading universities who chose finance jobs also slumped from 43 to 28 per cent between 2007 and 2016. 

3. Automation will have mixed results for jobs 

The rise of robots within the financial sector is something we've explored before. PwC has previously predicted automation will see 350,000 financial services workers replaced with machines by the 2030s. 

While this is no doubt concerning for many employees, the Big Four firm said automation will also create opportunities for higher-value jobs and allow workforces to reduce repetitive and labour-intensive tasks. 

Employees that proactively upskill themselves in new areas will better adapt to this evolving environment. 

Preparing for change

The UK must take a number of steps to ensure the industry evolves with the times and remains a leading centre of finance worldwide. 

These include: 

Better collaboration between regulators, government and businesses; 
Creating specialised skills-based visas to enable migrants to fill key talent gaps, particularly in digital and entrepreneurial ventures; 
Developing practical and agile learning programmes to address skills shortages in AI, cyber security and data analytics; 
Leveraging the Apprenticeship Levy and promoting more effective apprenticeship schemes; and 
Building stronger relationships between the finance industry and academia to optimise skills alignment and career development goals. 

Financial institutions, employees and jobseekers face significant workforce changes over the coming years. However, with a coherent and focused approach to industry developments, organisations and employees can expect greater opportunities and prosperity for decades to come.

Image credit: Bet_Noire via iStock

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