Tech skill development and the route to success for financial services

Banks are under pressure to innovate, but the latest technology isn’t needed for success. Without skilled employees, business will stagnate.

According to the Finextra Research and Pluralsight report, ‘Addressing Tech Skills Shortages in Financial Services,’ leaders must connect skills with strategy. This involves aligning L&D with corporate strategy. If executives don’t link employee training with the organization’s needs, they will make less progress.

Finextra Research and Pluralsight just held a webinar on this topic. Jane Cooper, a Finextra researcher, led a session with Pluralsight’s Ilker Bozkir, Crown Agents Bank’s Steven Marshall, and Citi Ventures’ Nicolas Colombo Calabrese.

The webinar explored how financial organizations may analyze skill alignment requirements and monitor skill growth. Solidify corporate goals and KPIs to support the talent strategy. Five things leaders should know:

  1. The link between business, technology and learning strategy,
  2. How technology helps to deliver the business strategy, mission, and goals,
  3. How the learning and development team can support goals,
  4. How learning will impact the goals, and
  5. How to validate the alignment between skills and deliver the plan.

Trends in the skill development space

Bozkir said that companies are now designating time for people to upskill, develop, and advance professionally. “It’s about prioritizing opportunities,” says Bozkir. Workers were given resources and told to learn before. There’s no focus on relevant resources, where the company is going, or scaling up.” Employees want hands-on learning, he continued. Video is losing popularity. They want to dabble with cloud technology.”

Calabrese explored how the shift in skill development has affected financial services. Digital transformation is the new normal, but the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged customers to shift online.

Banks are using cloud infrastructure, blockchain, AI, ML, and RPA. All banks are aiming to harness these technologies to improve client experience, information security, cost structure, and decision-making, said Calabrese. They’ll need talent and talents.

For Marshall, enhancing the bank’s digital literacy is key to identifying skills shortages and recognizing digital transformation’s opportunities. It’s partly about training and education, partly about hiring to cover skills shortfalls.

Barriers to innovation, access to resources, and improving the skills gap

It takes talent and effort to build an effective skill development program. There are typically two methods for developing skills: one involves teams creating learning plans and establishing a one-size-fits-all model. This may irritate higher-ranking workers and overwork those at lower levels of the hierarchy.

The alternative strategy is all-encompassing and prioritizes learning opportunities led by experts, human curation, and AI-driven recommendations. This calls for dedication, but it also gives each employee a unique growth plan that includes personal skill development as a crucial component of business advancement.

Marshall stated that closing the engineering skills gap is essential, particularly for banks that have a “endless desire for technical talent” and are going through a period of rapid growth. Talented individuals with expertise of API-led digital transformation are crucial for the future of financial services as engineering takes the lead in product management.

According to Calabrese, the key to filling the skills gap through recruiting the proper individuals is making sure that the HR department is familiar with the business plan. Calabrese emphasized that “at a minimum, they’re able to map talent, understand where the organization makes value, and how top talent contributes to that.”

Additionally, with HR guiding and embracing what he called a “learning culture,” they concentrate on reskilling and upskilling workers to stay up with technology developments and ensure the necessary personnel is in place to meet the company’s goals.

Scalable learning that explains technology across the employee lifecycle — across learning and development, performance management, and workforce productivity — can be implemented, according to Calabrese, by giving priority to strategic workforce planning, reviewing those strengths, and identifying future core capabilities that the organization will need.

Although there is a growing need for IT skills, according to Bozkir, “there is an infinite reservoir of resources out there. I believe it is necessary to combine hiring, upskilling, and downskilling. There are advantages to training your own workers because they are familiar with the business and reliable. Additionally, I believe it is important to remember that candidates are hired with the intention of upskilling them, as Bozkir explained.

The biggest obstacle to creativity was also the subject of a survey that was distributed to the webinar audience. The skills gap was cited by 38.5% of respondents, and resources were close behind at 30.8%.

The importance of a learning mindset in tech skill development

Panelists explored what universities and colleges can do to help youth. Bozkir said intellectually curious and eager-to-learn graduates evolve and flourish best. A receptive mentality can also make digital literacy natural.

Marshall felt that computer literacy is necessary, but “drive and ambition are intangible, yet important.” Calabrese claimed that, given the rate of progress, university-taught IT skills would be obsolete in six months, highlighting the potential of “hiring on mindset and attitude.”

Banks should do what? Employees want clarification, Bozkir said. In three years, where will I be? All skilled people ask these questions, and banks should have answers.

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