Financial Services – a family affair

Beate OeraResearch, insights & industry news

KPMG survey - financial services

A survey published by KPMG in April looking at social mobility within financial services, and the way the sector is viewed inside and outside the industry, has sparked alarms over the sector’s ability to attract top talent.

Financial services “sounds boring”

Looking at the way the financial services is viewed inside and outside the sector, the survey highlighted an alarming difference in perception. Whilst financial services employees score highly on job satisfaction, 65% of people outside the sector said they would not consider a career in financial services. Many cited a lack of contacts in the sector, but the biggest reason given was that it ‘sounds boring’. This points to a clear perception gap and an image problem, as 87% of financial services staff said they liked their jobs, beating the national average by five percentage points. In the 25-34 age group job satisfaction was at 90%, the highest in the UK.

“There’s clearly a gap between what the public think, and the realities of working in financial services that has to be addressed if we are to attract the diverse mix of skills and experiences needed to navigate the changes going on in financial services and society,” Tim Howarth, head of financial services consulting at KPMG said.

A family affair

KPMG survey - financial servicesKPMG found that 41% of financial services staff had parents in the same sector, against a national average of 12%. That so many in financial services have followed in their parents’ footsteps, more than three times the national average, points towards lack of social mobility. However, it also tallies with the general population’s perception of the industry. Whilst it looks ‘boring’ from the outside, those with family in financial services have benefited from the inside view from people who are more likely to enjoy their jobs than most.

Nevertheless, the findings are alarming. “Whatever the reason the consequence is the same,” Howarth said, “a narrow and narrowing talent pool and not enough social mobility. That is a big challenge for the future of the sector”.

A question of motivation?

Whilst job satisfaction amongst financial services staff is higher than average, delving into the reasons why reveals some interesting figures. When asked why they enjoyed their jobs, only 16% of financial services staff said that their jobs were interesting, against 29% in the rest of the population. Opportunities for career progression also scored 16%, but the biggest motivator is salary, cited by 31% of respondents. Outside the sector, geography was the biggest factor, with 23% saying their job ‘is in my local area’.

Attracting Millennials

In the 16-24 bracket, the percentage of financial services employees with parents in the sector rose to 55%. Whilst the general population’s antipathy towards the sector was somewhat lower in this age group, it’s nevertheless clear the industry needs to do more to appeal to young people.

“The workforce is changing,” Jon Holt, Head of Financial Services at KPMG said. “We are always told that Millennials and Generation Z are more interested in their social impact than their finances and so our sector has to get more imaginative in the way it attracts and retains staff. As automation takes away some of the more monotonous roles in finance, and boundaries between sectors like technology, retail and financial services disappear, firms have to work harder to appeal to young talent. If financial services can’t attract the brightest talent pipeline, someone else will.”

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