Written by Kelly Biggar, head of our Wealth Management desk.
In between EU negotiations and the ongoing ‘meaningful vote’ row, we’ve had plenty of speculation and analysis over the negative impact Brexit may or may not have on UK industries. We have seen articles suggesting a shortage of skilled workers in manufacturing and agriculture already, and the financial services industry is obviously keen to ensure access to the very best talent post Brexit.
The financial sector is Britain’s biggest economic sector, and can exert a fair bit of pressure, raising more than £70B pounds annually in taxes. Access to talent is essential and one thing that strikes me when meeting candidates, is the amazing range of individuals from different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicity working in the City. London is a hub for the brightest, and best and whilst Brexit is unlikely to affect the ability of those already here to stay, what about new applicants? It’s possible that we may end of up with costly or unrealistic restrictions on recruiting from across the globe. Therefore, firms need to be proactive and to prepare for worst case scenarios, even if unlikely.
One area financial services firms can certainly improve upon, is their long term talent development strategies. It’s often easier to build a team by hiring from competitors than developing new talent (think of football). I’ve noticed a decline in training programmes within financial services over the years, probably due to trimming of costs after the credit crisis , and now would be a good time for firms to re-instigate these. There is always a young generation coming through, and they need to be engaged with and encouraged to still consider financial services, but firms also need to explore new talent pools. One the great things to come out of the diversity debate is that firms are considering candidates from different backgrounds with more focus on social mobility, broader experiences to provide clients with a greater choice of relationship manager, and individuals bringing new perspective to the problem solving room.
Training staff takes time, money and resource, of course, but the reward comes in the shape of employees who are trained to your standards, have bought into your culture and ethos, and are loyal. Long-term, it makes for a high quality workforce with strong embedded positive behaviours that regulators are looking for. With Brexit looming and our relationship with one source of talent changing, it’s time to turn to other solutions.
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