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Beyond the ATM: 4 Critical Talent Trends Driven By Banking and Financial Technology

Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Digital currencies, Fintech. Mobile and online apps.
Thanks to technology, the banking and finance industries are almost unrecognizable from 20, 10 or even five years ago, when business was done via brick and mortar and handshakes. With the impact of some of these technological developments just beginning to be felt, much more change is coming.

All of this change has a tremendous impact on talent needs and priorities. In this post, we examine four critical talent trends for banking and financial institutions that are being driven by technology.

  1. High Demand for Tech and Tech-Savvy Job Roles

The rapidly growing need for IT professionals is the top talent development in the banking and financial industries. These industries are now clearly tech companies’ biggest competitors for tech talent.

It’s easy to see why. Someone needs to build and maintain all of this hot banking and finance technology. Plus, as Geoff Fawcett of recruiting provider Hays points out, companies have a greater need for risk control, especially in regard to cyber security—and that means “information technology engineers and security officers will be, once again, very much in demand in 2017.”

We fully expect this need for IT talent to continue to grow. Global investment in the financial technology sector increased 67% from the first quarter in 2015 to the first quarter in 2016, according to Accenture. There’s tremendous room for growth in areas like digital currencies, given that most of the world still deals with cash, checks and plastic. Plus, traditional banks are exploring incubators. And fintech companies are trying to use tech to differentiate themselves. We could go on…

In addition to IT talent, another talent need we expect to see grow is for lower- to mid-level talent who are as comfortable with technology as they are with financial clients. The reason: we expect more and more banking and financial services like H&R Block’s model for doing taxes, in which tech tools drive the process and provide the recommendations. Of note here: because of what the tech tools will be doing, these professionals won’t necessarily need financial expertise—proficiency will be good enough.

  1. Less Demand for Some Traditional, Highly Trained Roles

The flip side of tech tools sparking growth in technologically proficient lower- to mid-level talent is they could decrease demand for certified financial planners and other highly trained financial professionals. While this could take some time, the more tech tools drive investment/finance decisions, it could mean the less need there will be for those with high levels of financial expertise.

However, technology doesn’t always eliminate jobs; sometimes it changes them. Take bank tellers. Despite the proliferation of online banking and ATMs, employment of tellers is projected to only drop a modest 8% by 2024, according to the Department of Labor. And teller employment was on the rise until recently. As an interesting article by the American Enterprise Institute points out, bank tellers’ jobs, instead of being largely eliminated by technology, have instead become more marketing oriented.

  1. Focus on Tech Hiring

As technology becomes more and more important for business success, having a strong IT team will become a critical business priority. This means banks and financial institutions will need to focus on hiring measures such as:

  • Quality of hire. With all the uncertainty occurring due to technology and global events, having stability in your tech team helps your business and technology be more agile. Stability begins with having high-quality talent, so hiring the right people is essential. This means candidates need to be screened carefully, with special attention paid to whether they have the technical skills and experience necessary to succeed in the roles they’re being hired for…
  • Time to hire. If your IT team goes understaffed too long, it will impact performance and innovation—and could reduce cyber security. As a result, strong talent sourcing and efficient hiring processes for IT roles become even higher priorities.
  1. Competition for Tech Talent

Financial institutions and banks are going to need more tech talent. Tech companies are going to need more tech talent. Other companies need more tech talent. Everybody needs more tech talent. Where’s it all going to come from?

It’s a huge question. After all, for 2016, 91% of companies anticipated some (56%) or a significant (35%) increase in competition for talent, according to a Mercer study. And no role is harder to hire for than tech. According to a recent CareerBuilder report, five of the top 10 jobs that companies can’t find enough qualified employees for are tech jobs.

The result of it all is, unless the tech talent shortage disappears somehow, those companies who are able to identify and hire the tech talent they need are going to have a major competitive advantage.