Covid-19: half of Financial Services workforce consider career change

Covid-19 has prompted a bout of soul searching among Financial Services workers, with almost half (44%) considering a career change, according to research by KPMG and the Financial Services Skills Commission

The desire for a career change seems to be a trend across the UK’s workforce, with 46% of workers across all industries considering new roles as a result of the pandemic.

Among those Financial Services workers looking for a career change, 13% said they would not choose the sector again for their next career move – rising to 16% of 18-30 year olds. Those who said they would not work in the sector again cited long hours (15%), long commutes (13%) and heavy regulation (9%) as key factors driving their decision.

Karim Haji, head of financial services, KPMG UK, said: ‘As we spend more time at home away from our colleagues and offices, it makes sense that many will be questioning their current roles and choices - and what the future might hold.

‘With so many considering a career change, Financial Services must take this time to promote itself positively and wipe the slate clean when it comes to the associations people make with it, if it is to be genuinely competitive for talent.

‘Positively, some of the work on this is already underway. The pandemic has spurred many Financial Services firms to make positive changes and ditch some of their more conservative employee policies in line with other sectors. This will go far in tackling misperceptions of the industry and help it attract more diverse employees, as well as retain current talent.’

The survey showed the sector has retained its reputation for strong remuneration and career progression. Competitive salaries (54%) and good employee benefits, such as insurance and private healthcare (35%), were listed by Financial Services employees as top drivers towards the sector. Among under 30s, a third (31%) said that progression opportunities were a key attribute attracting them to the sector.

However, there is an opportunity for employers in Financial Services to invest further in their employees’ skills. Just 15% of those working in the industry listed good training as a motivator to remain, indicating that Financial Services firms are not doing enough to upskill their staff as digitisation of the sector gains pace.

Claire Tunley, CEO of the financial services skills commission, said: ‘Financial Services has a skilled and committed workforce who have responded rapidly and effectively to different ways of working. Growing skills gaps still pose a threat to future competitiveness, and there is more to do to increase training and development for existing staff and improve perceptions among potential employees.

‘The sector has a real opportunity to learn from the experience of the pandemic to create a strengthened employee offering, building on its existing reputation for good pay and progression. This will be key to securing talent over the coming months and years. If they want their talent to have the skills they need to deliver the best outcomes for businesses, employers will need to match new digital ways of working with increased investment in training.’

The research for this survey was conducted between 1 – 30 July 2020, by intelligence business Savanta. There were 1,510 members of the UK workforce surveyed, including 632 employees working within financial services.

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