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Future-proofing talent: what the banking industry needs to do to stay ahead of the curve

In an age of constant innovation and ever-expanding possibilities for customer engagement, the banking sector is not alone in considering future talent development as a key business concern. Research released in April by the UK’s Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) found that 92% of its member firms had difficult-to-fill vacancies in 2022 and from an IT skill perspective alone, the Chartered Institute for IT’s 2022 State of the Nation report found over 64,000 vacancies for UK tech jobs in Q3 2021, a 191% increase from the previous year. So what skills will banking workforces of the future require to maintain their competitive edge?

Executing change with low code

One factor is the relative scarcity of employees with specialist skills to adapt to and execute change. Legacy banking systems present a particular challenge as many banks push through digital transformation for processes and services to keep pace with challenger banks who have seen tremendous success amongst a new generation of banking customers.

Consequently, employees that can help plan and execute digital transformation strategies by focusing on process improvement are vital to the continued success of a banking organisation. With the ongoing retirement of legacy banking subject matter specialists, the pool of candidates with rare-to-find programming language skills is limited. This concern is also amplified by the fact that incorporating innovative technologies such as AI and machine learning into traditional banking processes is technically challenging in its own right.

As the availability and training of experts across these domains continuously lags in comparison with demand, the ability to facilitate change by way of modern technologies to assist this transition has become a key competitive differentiator. That’s why it’s vital that businesses commit to building an enterprise-wide culture that helps employees at all levels understand, collaborate on and improve business applications, even without special coding knowledge.

This highlights the importance of banking IT leaders investing in low code software which can help bridge this gap, and in turn will help take pressure off employees where there are open vacancies. Low code software enables all employees within an organisation to create applications quickly and easily, not just professional software developers. So called ‘citizen developers’, they need only basic programming knowledge to run, update and create new business processes, which will enable employees to rapidly add value as appropriate.

Research from Gartner has predicted that by 2023 there will be four times as many citizen developers at large enterprises than those working in software development full-time. Effective implementation of such a culture in financial organisations will help foster collaboration between teams as well as facilitating streamlined processes, which will increase productivity.

Creativity and mentorship

The FSSC report also highlighted creative thinking and coaching as two other key priority areas for skill futureproofing, which will be critical to identify and inculcate in the next generation of talent. To foster a digital first culture and move digital transformation plans forward internally, banks need to focus their recruitment processes on identifying candidates who have a demonstrated curiosity combined with domain knowledge. It’s particularly important to keep an eye out for natural problem solvers with a personal impetus to see applications become easier to use and more productive.

Employee growth through coaching should also be a priority to help banking employees continue to thrive once hired. One way to prioritise this would be to implement a consistent mentorship programme that allows for the managed growth of mentees in line with skill and regulatory requirements. This will help newly recruited candidates and experienced employees thrive in a time of increasingly rapid technological change.

Ultimately, the growth of an organisation is fostered by culture, and an organisational culture that emphasises consistent progression where processes are concerned will often be a deciding factor. Prioritising innovation and learning as part of a comprehensive talent development strategy will facilitate financial organisations’ evolution to meet the digital challengers of the future. This will help them be better prepared to deliver a consistently excellent banking experience well into the future.



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