A Look at Talent in the Financial Services Industry

A Look at Talent in the Financial Services Industry Posted by Andrew Liakopoulos on October 3, 2012

Nearly five dozen executives from the Financial Services industry (FSI) were among the respondents to Deloitte’s January 2012 Talent Edge 2020 global survey. Their perspectives give us an interesting glimpse at how the industry’s talent challenges compare to those in other industries.

In general, the recession and ongoing economic uncertainties, along with increasing regulatory oversight, have been especially hard on FSI. As a result, talent issues, per se, have not captured as much management attention as the need to address risk and regulatory challenges, cut and manage costs and acquire/serve/retain customers. In fact, these issues were significantly more pressing in FSI than in the other industries represented in the study, as Figure 1 shows below, while managing human capital was less pressing.

Workforce analytics journey

In terms of specifically talent-related concerns, FSI executives are more focused on reducing employee headcount and costs (45 percent vs. 19 percent for all other industries) and in retaining employees at all levels over hiring new (34 percent vs. 19 percent for other industries). This latter retention point is understandable given that certain sectors of FSI are knowledge-based businesses in which the ability to retain valuable employees can be considered a competitive advantage. Interestingly, however, fewer FSI executives (21 percent) said they were very confident about the overall effectiveness of their retention strategies and programs vs. 30 percent of executives in other industries. Because the survey results indicate that compensation, bonuses and other financial incentives play a bigger role in FSI than in other industries, there may be potential for the industry make headway by considering other, non-monetary ways to retain top talent.

As far as emerging talent strategies, two areas are noteworthy: accelerated leadership development and global diversity management. More than half (55 percent) of FSI respondents indicated they would be focusing on accelerated leadership development in the next year, vs. 36 percent of executives in other industries. FSI executives are also more interested in global diversity management (41 percent vs. 30 percent for other industries). This is in line with related activities in the industry, such as the many companies that are looking to grow into emerging markets and to leverage a global talent supply by offshoring certain jobs.

The complete Talent Edge 2020: Redrafting talent strategies for the uneven recovery: Perspectives from the Financial Services industry report gives more insights gleaned from the Talent Edge 2020 survey. From our perspective, the industry would do well to focus its corporate talent investment in areas that can help it meet its risk and regulatory, cost-cutting and customer service-oriented priorities. That means investing in learning & development programs, knowledge management solutions and succession management.

Andy Liakopoulos Andy Liakopoulos is a principal in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP and currently leads Deloitte’s National Talent Strategies practice.

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