Sibos 2019: Recruiting the next generation of finance and technology players

Sibos 2019: Recruiting the next generation of finance and technology players

At Sibos 2019, business leaders from across the globe come together to discuss the future of financial services and how engaging and employing skilled individuals now goes beyond salary, security and stability.

The next generation of employees want to leverage their roles to build their knowledge and skills, have a lasting impact on their business and find a deeper sense of purpose. At the same time, they are looking for greater connectivity and more opportunities to engage with people from different cultures and mindsets, in order to learn and broaden their experience.

These trends are making a significant impact on the recruitment and retention of staff in the financial and technology industries. Finextra spoke to Teresa Meek, Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist EMEA, at SWIFT about what the implications are for finding the right talent in a highly competitive labour pool.

Changing consumer demands

Meek highlights that, “consumer expectations have changed, impacting the way companies work, and in turn increasing the demands on employees.” She continues to explain that, “technology and increased automation has meant a shift from traditional roles. There is now an increased need for ‘knowledge workers’ to boost innovation and work more creatively than machines.”

Meek cites the work of theorist Peter Drucker who coined the term ‘knowledge worker’ in his book, The Age of Discontinuity (1969). Drucker went on to theorise that “the most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.”

Meek agrees with Drucker’s work. She sees the increasing sophistication of technology evolving to meet the ever changing customer expectations, which, in turn, puts pressure on employees.

“Employees know that the world of work is demanding and so they’re constantly looking for rewarding roles - ones with purpose that can effect change. Employees are saying, ‘if you want this increased commitment and want me to be more creative and innovative in the way that I deliver, I also have requirements of you, as an employer.’”

Employee expectations

While there’s been a big focus on work-life balance by employers, Meek highlights how in recent years, skilled staff want to “challenge traditional thinking and thrive in an agile environment that is diverse in approaches and ideas.” Employees are investing more into their careers and so expect a role that challenges them, cares for them and their families, and provides them with opportunities to develop their skills and grow in a thriving environment.

Meek adds that we are in a candidate driven market. Candidates want to know what we have to offer them in terms of career progression, how they can make a difference - and now more than ever - what do we have to offer them as an employer?

“There’s a slight myth that the financial industry isn’t a place where you can have a big impact, due to the scale and complexity of the global financial system. That may have been true ten years ago, but today it’s an environment where technology is revolutionising whole markets and where the pace of change is only set to increase. This means there are real opportunities for the right people to make a difference.”

Response to market changes

Meek believes there are lessons we can learn from the way technology has increased personal networking and facilitated societal changes that enable people to make a difference in the world around them.

This applies in the way employees engage with their work. “People are increasingly passionate about influencing their community for good. Naturally, they would seek careers that also enable them to make an impact through their day to day role.”
By using technologies to bridge the gap between countries and diverse communities at work, employees gain broader experiences and access rich opportunities to learn from one another.

“At SWIFT, as a member-owned cooperative, more candidates are rightly identifying us as an employer that offers a sense of purpose.” Meek shares that “working across more than 200 countries we encourage our employees to reach out across the organisation to inform their approach and build their skills. However, while an organisation can encourage these interactions, there is a personal responsibility of the employee that requires a growth mindset and curiosity to explore the ecosystem in which they’re working.”

Meek concludes: “It also takes some courage to reach out to those that have a completely different background to you and ask ‘how would you do things differently?’”

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