financial services

Pandemic Brings Increased Demand for Financial Services Talent

The financial services sector was one of a handful of industries that experienced positive job growth during the COVID-19. Despite businesses in hospitality, entertainment, and recreation being decimated by pandemic lockdowns, those in professional services actually saw increases in year-over-year revenue.

So, what caused such a rise in demand for financial services talent? According to workforce experts, the provision of trillions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid created a perfect storm for the finance sector. As millions of Americans were desperate to maintain financial stability during the pandemic, they turned to their trusted bankers and financial advisors for help. Further accentuating the need for financial services professionals, record-low interest rates spurred consumer spending and a greater willingness to borrow money. These collective demands forced banks and other financial institutions nationwide to increase the sizes of their retail banking and customer service workforce.

Looking to the future, what are some anticipated trends within the financial services sector? Here are things to expect when examining the long-term direction of the industry in 2022 and beyond.

Putting greater emphasis on digital transactions

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that humans can never take in-person interactions for granted ever again. The same is also true for banks and financial institutions. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, retail banks had witnessed a steady drop off in branch usage. While experts claim that there will always be a need for brick-and-mortar banking locations, innovators within the finance sector will expand their technology departments to improve their digital websites and mobile banking applications. By enabling customers to conduct transactions right from their computers or smartphones, banks will more effectively embrace the digital era.

Familiarizing employees with in-demand departments

Throughout the pandemic, banks and financial institutions have had their hands full when trying to keep pace with consumers’ borrowing demands. To continue servicing the needs of their clients and customers, organizations must continue large-scale cross-training initiatives. This is done—in large part—to familiarize employees who may be experiencing declines in workloads with departments that have seen explosions in service needs. Areas like lending, customer service, and product design have all been booming during the outbreak of COVID-19—and this trend will only be amplified in the months ahead.

Proactively monitoring for criminal cyber activity

As banks and financial services institutions continue to ride the digital transformation wave and utilize the latest and greatest twenty-first-century technology, the need for added cybersecurity measures will be considerably high. According to new research by BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, 74 percent of banks and insurers experienced a rise in cybercrime during the pandemic. Because criminal cyber activity will only continue to become more innovative and sophisticated, these businesses must be on high alert and aware of a potential attack. By allocating additional resources and deploying professionals to prevent money laundering incidents and phishing scams, the financial services industry will be better protected from a devastating and debilitating cyberattack.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in talent acquisition

Historically, the financial services sector has been an industry dominated by white men. As such, companies within this space have begun strategizing how to recruit greater populations of diverse and oft-overlooked candidates. Studies—like one conducted by McKinsey—show that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on executive teams were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability. Making meaningful progress in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion can serve as a differentiator for financial services organizations while better positioning them for long-term success.

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