DISYS VP of Finance Writes Piece on State of Staffing in Finance Industry
The below article appeared in SIA’s Staffing Stream. View it here.
Multi-Faceted Talent Plays Big Part in Financial Services Staffing
The banking industry is in a battle to generate profit in a world where there is a race to charge the customer less but give them more. We’ve seen examples of global financial services firms introducing zero-fee index funds, which directly affect the amount of money hitting their bottom line at the end of the year. But the fact is, it’s hard to reduce income and with it the amount of funds available for innovation when customer satisfaction is the name of the game and the market’s competitiveness makes raising fees a risky venture.
In order to combat the reduction of revenue, banking trailblazers are using a trifecta of automation, combining jobs and a much more competitive sourcing process to reduce spend.
Automation opens new doors. In January, one major financial firm announced layoffs as automated processes began to alleviate the need for those within the organization who perform repetitive tasks. And while this has eliminated some of the more traditional roles we recruit for within financial services, it has opened up the need for IT professionals who not only possess the necessary skills within overall IT, but also have the ability to plan, build, train and deploy automation tools that affect nearly every aspect of the industry. In short, innovative financial services automation experts who can also perform in other IT functions are a hot commodity.
It is true there is fear in nearly every industry with the rise of automation, but the flip side of this is, when implemented effectively, automation frees up industry thought leaders to think more creatively and focus on captivating ways to bring additional customers in.
Blending roles. Furthermore, in the past candidates were hired to work just one very specific role: Business analysts would gather requirements, developers would write code and quality assurance engineers would test.
Now the roles are combining with more firms hiring developers who can talk to business users directly without a necessary business analyst liaison or additional software development engineers to develop and test implementation. When a well-rounded candidate can take up multiple, vital roles, the business dynamic shifts and so does the quality and skill sets of those we are tasked to find to fulfill these positions.
Competitive sourcing. As we have seen competitiveness in the financial services industry due to these shifts, we have also experienced them in the sourcing process. In years past, a manager would, regardless of cost, work with a vendor he or she had used previously — based on performance and results.
Now, these same managers are driven by cost and competition — and will seek numerous quotes from multiple staffing vendors. This is also compounded now that there are stringent anti-bribery/anti-corruption processes and guidelines. Reverse auctions are becoming more common within staffing where vendor selection is done based on the lowest rate.
These stark changes in staffing dynamics and the constant pressure of competition is requiring the banking industry to keep close to current trends in order to find the right balance in their staffing strategies. Where offshoring provided significant savings years ago, some jobs are coming back in order to better realize cost savings AND customer satisfaction — no longer seeing one of these virtues outweighing the other.
Likewise, if automation is used properly and with the right parity, it can in fact produce error-free work at a lower cost. Employees can then innovate in the valuable time gained and talent freed up through the use of it by bringing previously unseen value to both customers and the banking industry itself. It also is giving those employees who were once thought ‘stagnant’ in their skillset, the opportunity to grow professionally and maintain their industry relevance through thought leadership and innovation.
These balances continue to evolve. Those who watch the industry closely don’t see it changing but are committed to keeping a watchful eye on providing the right mixture of tech and talent so the industry can continue to thrive and innovate.
Al Barsoumian is VP of banking and financial services at Digital Intelligence Systems LLC, a managed services and staffing firm with nearly 40 offices across the globe. Connect With Al Barsoumian on LinkedIn