THE BRAIN DRAIN:  FINANCIAL SERVICES FAILING TO PROVIDE STAFF WITH THE TRAINING THEY NEED

52% of employees in the financial services industry have not received any training in their current role

Online training specialists Filtered.com have revealed results of an independent study* conducted into the staff skills shortage faced by UK companies within the financial services sector.  Over half of survey respondents (52%) said they had not received any form of training in their current role. Furthermore, only 8% received training in numeracy despite 65% saying these skills were required for their job. A number of other skills were also cited as being essential, but lacking in the sector-specific training the respondents had received:

  • Checking skills (covering skills such as attention to detail) – 64% stated they needed this skill, vs 9% receiving training
  • Self-management skills (encompassing time management, planning, organizational skills and self-motivation) – 64% vs 11%
  • Initiative skills (covering problem solving and creativity)– 65% vs 9%
  • Literacy (encompassing language skills, written communication and editing skills) – 64% vs 5%
  • IT skills (including computer and technology skills)– 61% vs 24%
  • Influence (covering presenting, negotiating, leadership skills and interpersonal communication) – 55% vs 18%
  • Enterprise skills (including external communication, dealing with customers, and commercial awareness)– 50% vs 14%
Marc Zao-Sanders, Co-founder and Managing Director, Filtered.com
Marc Zao-Sanders, Co-founder and Managing Director, Filtered.com

These results resonate with the recent Robert Half “2014 Financial Services Salary Guide which found that for 99% of firms surveyed it had become more challenging to find skilled finance professionals. A massive 95% of board level executives feared their CFO and top performing finance staff would leave the company – a 28% leap on the year before.  Similarly, a report by PwC found that only 5% of firms are confident they can secure all the skills they need, with a report by QBE indicated that over a quarter are concerned about the availability of talent. With financial services and insurance contributing £126.9 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy in 2014 (8.0% of the UK’s total GVA), it has never been more important to safeguard the knowledge base of workers within this field.

Looking back to their time at school and university, just 61% of people working in financial services received numeracy training at school. More worryingly, only 34% received such training at university. Perhaps unsurprisingly therefore, a mere 5% said school equipped them well for the workplace and only 10% felt university equipped them very well.

Looking to the future, 33% of respondents believe influence skills (presenting, negotiating, leadership and interpersonal communication) are the skills most needed to help them progress their career in the next 5-10 years.

Marc Zao-Sanders, Managing Director and co-Founder of Filtered.com, comments: “The financial services industry has changed significantly in recent years and the impact on training has been considerable. For example, the credit crunch led to more regulation andso financial services firms have had to quickly upskill their existing workforce or spend extravagantly on external hires. But there remains a shortage of workers with anti-bribery, money laundering and other compliance-related qualifications. So in this industry in particular, there are extra reasons for training to be prioritized through investment in high-quality, effective training to better inform, guide and empower staff.  Our survey has shown that there are opportunities for companies who are prepared to make this investment. And extra effort and spend in training now will help ensure that the UK retains its position as one of the world’s leading financial hubs.”

How  can Filtered help

Filtered.com is an online education platform that maximizes the impact of business training by carefully selecting quality bespoke contents most useful and therefore valuable for each user.  Filtered.com personalizes learning material from the outset, closing the gap between user’s current knowledge and where the user needs to be, to make the greatest professional impact.  By asking self-assessment, competency and aspiration-based questions, and how users expect to deploy acquired learning for work, Filtered.com’s algorithm strips out any syllabus a user either already has competency over or is unlikely to need, thus creating a personalized course encompassing specifically what the user needs to learn.  A recent study has demonstrated that even a simple filtering of syllabus topics according to a user’s specific needs results in a 26% increase in training impact.  The adaptive algorithm self-improves, using data and feedback from each learner’s ongoing course experience, to pinpoint syllabus selection and optimize training efficacy.

In its first 18 months the Filtered.com platform has helped over 15,000 users master new skills across a range of sectors, including accounting and finance, consultancy, retail, transport and logistics, engineering, manufacturing, education, farming, charity and healthcare. Clients range from individuals looking to develop personally and professionally, to graduates seeking to bridge the gap between academia and profession, as well as small/medium/large businesses needing effective and scalable training solutions for their workforce. Filtered.com’s corporate clients include the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

*In November 2014 Filtered.com commissioned Opinium to survey 2,000 UK adults in employment. 66 workers from a cross section of financial services companies in the UK were interviewed.

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