Even with millions of people unemployed in major markets around the globe, financial services organizations are hard pressed to find the skills they need to compete and grow in a changing world. We can expect this trend to intensify in the next 10 years, especially if the global economy recovers and organizations step up recruitment.

Talent supplies are expected to shrink owing to baby-boomer retirements and declining birthrates in major markets around the world. This is a sure recipe for fierce competition over needed skills. At the same time, demand for highly skilled labor is expected to increase. Economists predict that the majority of new jobs over the next decade will be at intermediate and high levels of skill.

Compounding the problem, financial services organizations need a more diverse range of skills to succeed in a fast-changing business environment. These skills—for example, analytics and digital—are essential for improving efficiencies, boosting productivity and presenting one “face” to the customer.

And as the business environment continues changing at lightning speed, banks and insurers will need to constantly modify the mix of skills in their workforce as well as bring in new ones. This will make it harder for banks and insurers to keep themselves stocked with the right skills, when and where they need them.

Educational institutions—key suppliers of skills—are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Sure, such institutions in emerging economies like Brazil, India and China are now producing workers with higher-level skills. But importing skills from one country to another will likely continue to be a challenge.

As financial services companies race to develop the next generation of products and services, they will continue to need ever more sophisticated and evolving skill sets. If those skill sets aren’t available and easily tapped, then they face losing the race altogether. Today’s fast changing, turbulent business environment means that talent must easily flow to where it is needed most, or that it needs to be developed.

But our cross-industry research data suggests that most organizations are finding this challenging. Consider the following:

  • Only 38 percent of employees reported that their employer looks at all of their talents and capabilities when deciding how to best utilize them.
  • Only 53 percent of workers report that their organization documents their skills.
  • Only 49 percent of workers believe their employers help them develop in-demand skills to ensure they remain marketable and highly effective.

Given such statistics, it is unsurprising that under half (49 percent) of workers reported that there is no gap between the skills they have and the ones they need to perform their job at their best, and that just 62 percent believe their employer fully utilizes their unique skill sets to help meet business goals. Clearly, organizations aren’t maximizing the potential of their workforce, and that applies to banks and insurers, too.

Big benefits can ensue for organizations that get it right. This will demand that HR organizations in financial services will need to shift from reactive, supply-side fulfillment of skills to proactive, demand-side fulfillment. That is the subject of part 2 of this blog series.

Learn more here: Tapping Skills Anywhere, Anytime

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