Financial firms face talent crisis ahead of Brexit

The lack of productivity growth has been the biggest source of weakness in the UK economy in the decade since the financial crisis. According to the Bank of England, the finance sector is the biggest contributor to the country’s productivity slowdown. Since 2009, productivity has shrunk by 2.1% per year.

61% of banks reported a moderate to severe skills shortage in 2017 [1], claiming it is seriously impacting productivity, innovation and profit. With fears over Brexit hitting business productivity, almost half (49%) of financial services firms are concerned about finding the necessary talents and skills when recruiting [2]. Yet aren’t taking the steps needed to attract talent.

New research from TeleWare, a leading provider of communications technology, reveals a staggering 94% of employees in financial services find it important to be able to choose the hours they work and where from. Yet, just over a third (36%) of employees in financial services work for firms that offer flexible working for everyone. Of those firms that do allow it, more than a fifth (22%) of employees said it isn’t available to all employees – only those of a certain level of seniority.

The finance sector has been held back from adopting flexible working practices due to, in part, its strict compliance requirements. However, firms will continue to miss out on significant benefits by not allowing employees to work in their preferred style. Almost three fifths (59%) of workers would turn down a job opportunity that didn’t allow flexible working.

In addition to helping to attract new talent, almost half of employees say flexible working enables them to be more productive (48%). When considering employee wellbeing, almost three fifths (59%) of employees believe working flexibly improves their work/life balance and almost half (47%) say it makes them happier.

Steve Haworth, CEO at TeleWare, comments: “With Brexit on the horizon, and financial services in the UK set to be particularly hit, retaining and attracting key talent is a high priority. Firms must be aware that almost three fifths (59%) of financial services employees would turn down a job opportunity that didn’t allow flexible working.

As millennials become the largest generation in work, the demand for flexible working is only going to increase. For businesses, the benefits should be clear. Flexible working allows them to save money, create a more productive workforce and retain the best talent.”