Research commissioned by Robert Half has suggested nearly half (44 per cent) of CFOs within financial services are planning to upskill their existing employees and 35 per cent are planning to hire new staff to manage change and disruption in 2018.
When asked what are the top disruptive forces that will change the financial services industry in 2018, more than six in 10 (61 per cent) Hong Kong financial services leaders refer to macro-economic conditions, followed by technological change (52 per cent) and new regulation (52 per cent). Looking ahead to 2023, financial services leaders predict technology will have more of an impact as just under two-thirds (61 per cent) say the pace of technological innovation – such as automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics – will be the most disruptive force in the market by 2023, followed by new regulation (56 per cent) and macro-economic conditions (53 per cent).
“Hong Kong’s financial services industry continues to evolve as it grapples to accommodate to industry changes and disruption,” said Adam Johnston, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “The accelerating pace of technological advancement continues to change the face of the industry, and combined with strict government regulations and market fluctuations, financial services leaders are bracing for these challenges in the year ahead. Yet financial services companies and employees can only benefit from quickly and openly embracing this change.”
With these disruptive forces taking hold and technology playing an increasingly significant role, success and survival for industry players will hinge on a combined approach of training staff within their organisation and hiring additional suitably skilled candidates. According to the survey, nearly half (44 per cent) of CFOs within financial services plan to upskill their existing employees, 35 per cent plan to hire new staff, 31 per cent plan to partner with other business (such as digital agencies), and 29 per cent plan to increase business investments.
“To best manage change and disruption in 2018 and beyond, financial services employers understand they not only need to make sure they bring in additional expertise to address potential skills gaps, but also upskill their staff so they are equipped to take advantages of emerging business opportunities,” said Johnston.
Confronted with disruptive forces in the industry, the majority of Hong Kong’s financial services leaders are confident in their staff’s level of competence to adapt and be successful during this change. For technical skills, 92 per cent are confident in their graduate-level, 89 per cent are confident in their staff-level and 99 per cent are confident in their management-level employees. For soft skills, 95 per cent are confident in their graduate-level skillset, 95 per cent are confident in their staff-level and 97 per cent are confident in their management-level employees.
“For financial services professionals ambitious to grow their career and remain in-demand in the market, it is essential to not only upskill their technical capabilities, but also to continuously develop their soft skills, such as leadership, communication and interpersonal skills,” concluded Adam Johnston.