You’re Not The Only One Wondering Where All The Financial Services Talent Went

Randy Lenaghan

New global research by Oxford Economics and SAP has revealed a major dearth of human capital and knowledge in the financial services sector. The survey of more than 5,000 executives and employees suggests that new Businesspeople Looking at Graph in Meeting --- Image by © Simon Jarratt/Corbistechnologies and the demands of the rising Millennial generation are making it more challenging, yet more essential, to effectively build and train a workforce that will develop the next leaders.

Companies in the financial sector know that people are their most important asset. However, identifying, attracting, and holding onto the best talent appears to be getting harder. Whether it’s not fully understanding or appreciating the technology-based skill sets of Millennials, offering them a workplace culture and leadership direction that keeps them engaged, or giving them the opportunities to develop, it’s clear that there’s work to be done.

Know what makes a great Millennial worker

The first step to getting on the right track is knowing who the best people are in the first place, which is not as easy as it once was now that a stronger emphasis on technology and a new, significantly different generation of workers have shifted the goalposts. What many companies, specifically HR departments, lack are the tools they need to keep pace with this and achieve that kind of insight.

Consider these statistics from the research: Only 42% of respondents feel they have ample data to understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of their workforce, while a mere 43% use metrics and benchmarking at all, and just 35% know how to extract meaningful insights from that data. This suggests that hiring managers aren’t confident they can build a workforce that takes advantage of the new skills their business needs and that Millennials can offer.

Lead by example

Millennials are turned off by old-school leadership and training styles. And it seems that in financial services they’re outstaying their welcome. As younger leaders rise up, they are becoming frustrated by their peers’ lack of global thinking and inability to use diversity to succeed on the world stage, as well as their stubborn resistance to tackle the constant change happening around them.

More stats from the survey to highlight this issue: 50% of respondents said their leaders are prepared to drive change in the business, 46% said they are ready to lead a global workforce, and just 32% said they are confident in them to successfully lead a diverse workforce. Not exactly what you call inspiring the next generation of leaders to embrace their roles in our new digital world. Those in the top jobs need to appreciate the value of constantly reviewing and reflecting on their own work, being self-critical, and learning from feedback that includes the viewpoints of a diverse range of talent.

Don’t let your knowledge-hungry talent down

What Millennials in the financial services sector want to learn now is very different to what the previous generation wanted to learn. Persisting with a talent development model that teaches skills that aren’t relevant in today’s workplace will leave them frustrated, disengaged, and unproductive.

In our survey we found out just how true this is. 31% said their company is able to effectively help them acquire adequate information and knowledge about the company and sector, giving them the crucial training foundation they need. For the remaining 69%, is it a greater interest in learning development, or are they simply being let down?

The range of development opportunities today is much wider than it once was because of the potential to use technology in more meaningful ways. Millennials who don’t feel like their company is making them a part of that will become concerned with their own obsolescence in the job market. An upgrade is needed – and in some cases it should now be the Millennials themselves who are passing on wisdom and preparing people to become leaders.

Naturally, all businesses are competing for the top talent, and they need to consider a much wider skill set and range of factors than they have in previous generations. Data-driven workforce strategies can be their friend here. Put the tools in place to enable your business to figure out who the best people are, realize what they want, and understand how to make them better.

To find out more about SAP’s research, visit the SuccessFactors financial services insight page and read our Workforce 2020 report. There is also an industry fact sheet and infographic.


Randy Lenaghan

About Randy Lenaghan

As head of sales for SAP Canada, Randy Lenaghan leads high-performance teams in creating business value for customers by simplifying their technical landscapes and helping them realize innovations that have an impact in the marketplace. He has a proven record in devising and executing growth strategies for enterprises, with a strong focus on customer centricity and improved productivity.