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Attracting talent in Financial Services: flexible working key

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Competition for top talent in the Financial Services profession has always been fierce, but with the implications of the 2021 Great Resignation, aftermath of BREXIT and a widening skills gap for data and digital expertise, it’s only becoming more competitive. In fact, according to a poll conducted by Deloitte, 82% of hiring managers for finance and accounting roles say they are experiencing recruiting difficulties and talent retention challenges(Deloitte: Most public companies are challenged in attracting Finance and Accounting talent).

The resulting economic downturn coupled with market volatility has had far-reaching consequences, and with the push of digitalisation set to affect jobs and skills needed, the need for companies to attract and retain specialist talent has never been greater.

To help businesses across Financial Services do this, we list out three core focus areas:

  • Flexibility and work-life balance

  • Continued Professional Development

  • Competitive benefits package including financial support for studying

The importance of flexibility and promoting a healthy work-life balance

In the aftermath of the pandemic, and with a greater focus on wellbeing, there’s no doubt that over the past couple of years, people have reprioritised their working lifestyles. The need for a healthy work-life balance, greater flexibility, and access to a range of benefits continues to be on the priority list for those working across the Financial Services sector.

However, are employees getting the flexibility they need?

Research shows that many businesses, especially larger corporations are now requesting employees return to the office full or part-time. A list published by the Business Insider, includes organisations such as; Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Google, Salesforce, KPMG and many others who are changing the goal posts (Business Insider: Here’s a list of major companies requiring employees to return to the office).

A report by Deloitte Insights which surveyed professionals across Financial Services shows that “two-thirds who work remotely for at least some of the time say they will probably quit if made to return to the office five days a week”, and “wanting more flexibility is the reason most employees say they [would] leave their jobs” (Deloitte Insights: Cultivating employee engagement in Financial Services). In addition, “32% [ of professionals] say they want their job to line up better with their life goals” (Deloitte Insights: Cultivating employee engagement in Financial Services).

Furthermore, the global World Economic Forum’s Future Jobs Report 2023 which surveyed 803 companies, 11.3 million employees across 27 industries and 45 worldwide economies, found that “83% of workers prioritise flexible hours, and 71% prioritise flexible locations. On top of this, 35% say that poor work-life balance and burnout would prompt them to leave their job” (World Economic Forum: Future Jobs Report 2023).

“We’re seeing more and more professionals opt for Wealth Management roles that closely align with their personal needs, whether that’s having the flexibility to work from multiple locations, taking time out for personal responsibilities or fitting work around lifestyle interests and commitments. Historically, professionals, especially across Financial Services haven’t always had that option, but the coin has now flipped. So, employers need to continue to understand that if they want to retain, engage and support people to achieve their best, they need to continue to offer this level of flexibility”, says Rehana Sadiq, Senior Consultant, Financial Services.

Here are some ways businesses can continue to support their employees in achieving a better work-life balance:

  • Establish clear expectations and boundaries around workloads, deadlines, and work hours to aid employees with effective time management.

  • Promote flexible working as ‘the norm’ and build a culture of trust and empowerment to support people’s ownership of work and lifestyle commitments.

  • Encourage employees to take regular breaks and time off to recharge their batteries, whether that’s holiday leave or time off in loo. If employees work ‘over time’ or during the weekend it’s important to recognise this and give that time back to promote healthy habits and prevent burnout.

  • Prioritise mental health and wellbeing by offering and providing clear communications around available resources and support programmes.

  • Promote healthy habits like exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep to help employees maintain their physical and mental health.

Offer CPD and development pathways

One of the most effective methods of employee retention is the offering of Continued Professional Development (CPD) and career development pathways. In a study by Finextra, independent newswire and information source for the fintech community, of those surveyed, “90% stated that development was essential for a job…and 40% of employees who weren’t presented with opportunities for development in their organisation left their position within five years” (Finextra: Why Continuing Professional Development is key for Financial Services).

Training, mentoring and coaching is key to attracting potential employees and boosting workforce engagement, retention and productivity.

With changing financial regulations, new legislations and governance models, training and professional is even more essential for those working across Financial Services.

Offering career development opportunities demonstrates that employers are not only invested in their employees' growth, but they also understand the importance of supporting individual career aspirations and goals. A key attraction method is clearly communicating and promoting training and development propositions externally via brand messaging, job adverts and throughout company websites so prospective employees see a business’ genuine commitment to it.

Offer a strong benefits package including financial support for studying

As highlighted in our2023 Financial Services Salary & Benefits guide, the top benefits offered by Financial Servicesorganisations are:

  • Financial support for studying - 85%

  • Life Insurance - 76%

  • Equipment for remote working - 67%

  • Pension contributions - 64%

  • Health Insurance - 63%

Providing a competitive benefits package is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. A strong benefits package, including financial support for studying, will hugely benefit the employee and business. Including a financial allowance for personal study, whether that’s learning a specific discipline, life skill or leadership quality, is becoming incredibly important to professionals, as people look to enhance their employability and skillsets.

Investing in up-to-date technology and equipment can also help companies differentiate themselves. In fact, a competitive benefits package should go hand-in-hand with CPD in that the former equips an employee with the best toolkit possible for excelling in the latter. Investments in technology are already proving to have good returns and are vital for attracting top talent in the profession.

Attract the best talent with IDEX Consulting

In order to create a positive brand that will attract specialist talent, companies should prioritise promoting attractive benefits that they know will appeal to prospective employees, like work flexibility and training.

Whether you're hiring, need advice on your attraction strategy or seeking a new career opportunity, our team of Financial Service consultants can offer expert advice and guidance.Contact us for an informal, confidential chatand we’ll be happy to help.


Business Insider: Here’s a list of major companies requiring employees to return to the office

CBI: Optimism continues to improve as business volumes rise across the Financial Services sector -CBI/PWC survey

Deloitte Insights: Cultivating employee engagement in Financial Services

Deloitte: Most public companies are challenged in attracting Finance and Accounting talent

Finextra: Why Continuing Professional Development is key for Financial Services

People Management: Three in five employees planning career changes because of Covid, survey finds

TechTarget: The Great Resignation: Everything you need to know

The London Institute of Banking and Finance: CPD for Financial Advisers

World Economic Forum: Future Jobs Report 2023