A recent report published by PwC reveals that 70 per cent of CEOs in the financial services (FS) sector see the limited availability of key skills as a threat to their growth prospects, a big jump from the already 59 percent high of last year. Yet few seem to have a true grasp of the challenge at stake in righting this.
The report, ‘A new take on talent’, which is based on a PwC survey of 410 FS CEOs across 62 countries, and forms part of the firm’s Annual Global CEO Survey, finds that in a sector facing the disruptive impact of new technology, more complex regulation and increasing competition from new entrants, firms are not just competing for seasoned FS professionals but now also have a rising demand for more diverse and hybrid types of talent. Almost half of the FS CEOs surveyed by PwC say they plan to enter into a new joint venture or strategic alliance over the coming year. Nearly 40 percent see this as a way to access new and emerging technologies, in tandem a means to acquire the talent required, bypassing recruitment. According to PwC, the need to create a more flexible and customer-centric organization demands fewer people with specialist product expertise (‘depth’) and more all-round ‘athletes’ (‘breadth’). These people will have the varied technical skills and multi-industry experience to move easily between clients, countries and assignments.
According to Jon Terry, PwC’s Global FS HR consulting leader, the survey shows that in most cases, FS organizations do not have the talent they need to succeed. 70 percent of industry leaders see the limited availability of key skills as a threat to growth and only 5 percent are confident they can secure all the skills they need. The proportion of industry leaders expressing concerns over the availability of skills has risen from less than 50 percent in the survey three years ago.
PwC’s survey shows 78 percent of FS CEOs now look for a much broader range of skills when hiring than they did in the past with 58 percent saying they have a strategy in place to promote diversity and inclusiveness. A further 20percent say they plan to adopt one. While 90 percent of FS CEOs believe that greater talent diversity would improve their ability to attract talent, 85 percent of FS CEOs believe it would enhance performance whilst and 79 percent say it would improve their ability to innovate.
Further, Terry commented that, the industry leaders do recognize the extraordinary challenges they face, but may be slow and uncertain in responding. A new take on talent and how it is deployed are going to be vital in turning industry disruption from a threat to an opportunity.
As per the report, FS CEOs concerns centre on the relentless disruption generated by new technology, changing customer behavior and a new breed of tech-enabled competitors. When banking, insurance and asset management CEOs were asked from which industry a significant competitor is most likely to emerge, technology topped the list, some way ahead of other FS sectors.