Covid-19 accelerating skills challenges faced by financial sector

The global Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the digitisation of the workforce, making it more urgent than ever for financial services firms to address their digital skills gaps, according to the newly established Financial Services Skills Commission.

The Financial Services Skills Commission, which works to ensure the broadest possible talent and skills pipeline for the UK financial services sector, suggests that the sector’s move to remote working, assisting customers to access services digitally and the migration of systems into the cloud has thrown up new reskilling and upskilling challenges and new ways of working.

Established following the publication of a landmark report into financial services skills commissioned by HM Treasury, the Financial Services Skills Commission recently held its inaugural board meeting, chaired by former City Minister Mark Hoban.

The Commissions work will be led by its Chief Executive Officer, Claire Tunley, and will focus on the following priorities:

  • reskilling, upskilling and retraining staff while protecting and expanding employment in key regional and national financial centres
  • creating a sector-wide future-skills framework linked to an accreditation programme
  • attracting, motivating and retaining the widest and deepest pool of talent
  • strengthening the purpose and culture of the sector to ensure it remains attractive to existing and future talent.

Mark Hoban, Chairman, Financial Services Skills Commission, said,

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the global megatrends that have been driving change in the financial services sector. Digital transformations which could have taken years to implement have happened in days or weeks. This places even greater stress on the sector’s existing pool of talent and makes it all the more urgent to reskill and upskill people currently working in our businesses. The sector will also need to recruit and retain a much broader pool of talent to drive forward our digital transformation. The most efficient and effective way to achieve our goals is to work together since no one business can solve these challenges alone. The Commission will bring together the industry to help drive forward the change we need.”

John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said, 

The Coronavirus has shown what a pivotal role the financial services sector plays in supporting individuals, businesses and the wider economy. It has also accelerated the digital transformation as we all work differently. This is both a challenge and an opportunity which the industry needs to address, because it is vital that as we push the limits of tech, the sector has the skills to continue to lead and innovate. I’m confident that the Commission will provide an important focal point for this vital work.”