What skills are in demand in the financial services industry?
Working in the financial services industry has always required a particular set of skills, such is the responsibility of such a position.
Successful candidates will need excellent communication skills, good general IT abilities, motivation, ambition and extremely high levels of trustworthiness.
However, the sector is changing rapidly in the 21st century and such attributes are often no longer enough to ensure jobseekers land their dream financial roles – a whole new skillset is necessary to really stand out.
But what are these new skills and how can you make sure you have them to show off to employers? Let’s take a look at some of the most important new abilities for work in financial services.
More than 44,000 people are now employed by Fintech companies in the UK, many of which are start-ups aiming to create the next big ideas that will revolutionise the financial services industry.
For example, new ventures include companies designing web-based programs for real-time geopolitical risk assessment; a secure trading channel for digital currencies; digital invoice creators; and mobile phone-based payments systems.
With investment in Fintech in London growing faster than anywhere else in the world, financial services companies are clearly convinced it will be involved in the future of the sector – and they will therefore need tech-savvy professionals to work it and manage its use in the coming years.
At one time, it was enough for financial services companies to simply deal with data such as customer payment information, but this is no longer the case in our hyper-connected world.
Now, it’s possible to gather information everywhere from paper forms to social media platforms – and companies are well aware of the benefits of using it.
For example, banks and insurance firms are able to detect fraudulent activity using big data, while they can also improve customer service by anticipating in advance what products and services people may need.
They can then be presented with offers and apps to create a better experience and improve customer loyalty.
Jobseekers need to be able to prove they are adept at dealing with and analysing large data sets in order to take part in this Big Data revolution – according to a report by the Tech Partnership employers’ network and SAS, a business analytics company, Britain is expected to create an average of 56,000 Big Data jobs a year until 2020.
After the global financial crisis rocked the whole business world and left many financial services companies reeling, there was a huge rise in regulatory demands placed upon them to ensure it wouldn’t happen to the same extent again – particularly since many banks were held responsible.
Stricter regulations led to greater operational challenges and financial services firms are now aware of the benefits of having an effective compliance department to navigate them.
Failure to do so can not only lead to punishment, but also more exposure to risk, so effective identification, assessment and measurement, advisory capabilities and testing functions from compliance professionals are much sought-after – and for jobseekers with relevant expertise, that means increased opportunities.
IT security skills
Cyber security experts are warning of a constant threat from cyber criminals on the financial sector, with the International Organisation of Securities Commissions predicting the next big financial shock will come from a cyber attack.
Meanwhile, a new Symantec report shows the UK is the most cyber-attacked country in Europe, with attacks up by 40 per cent in 2014.
It’s therefore no surprise that companies are desperate to protect their assets and in turn, employ a raft of new skilled experts to help them do so. A new set of government initiatives have also sprung up designed to help build a bank of cyber security professionals to help them navigate the challenges faced by finance and other sectors over the coming years.
If you have what it takes, then you could find yourself cherry-picking the best roles at some of the biggest UK companies.
Clearly, there are lots of opportunities available in the finance industry as a result of the changing conditions in which we live – it’s down to jobseekers to make sure they can capitalise on them.