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Banking on the future of the workforce

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 29/08/2019 Millicent Clarke
Banking on the future of the workforce © Provided by Galadari Printing & Publishing LLC Banking on the future of the workforce

The disruption of technology is revolutionising industries across many levels. As businesses evolve during the unprecedented revolution in the workplace, appropriate operating models must be put in place to meet the continuous demands of clients and the world around us. The future workforce must be equipped with the necessary tools to allow them to easily adapt to the ever-changing world that will require digital skills, organisational adaptability and a different kind of leadership at all levels.

The banking industry specifically, has faced significant disruption from changes in client expectations, geopolitical landscape shifts and development of artificial intelligence. There is often anxiety linked to disruption, as it cannot always be predicted and organisations need to be ready to take advantage of new developments now for the future. To remain competitive, organisations will need to retool their structures and their approaches to work to make use of the new technologies with full effect. Redesigned business structures and processes with a new focus on talent must be looked at as a priority.

Research suggests that through 2030, the time spent using advanced technological skills will increase by 50 per cent in the United States and by 41 per cent in Europe, with the fastest rise in the need for advanced IT and programming skills . Additionally, automation will accelerate the shift in career skills with an increasing demand for technological abilities, while other skills such as, basic cognitive and manual skills will be less in demand. Data scientists, agile developers, engineers and scrum masters will become important in the new world of work. Those who can work across functions and businesses will be more valuable.

We believe that to have a competitive advantage with a future-fit workforce, we need to embrace digitisation and incorporate advanced technologies into the workstream.

Most banks are looking at replacing their legacy systems to ensure the new technology will improve their operating effectiveness and improve the customer experience. We see a lot of improvements around account opening, mortgage payments and new-hire processing - even IPOs are being done by algorithm. Automation will have an impact on the way we deliver and consequently our workforce and talent strategies.

Looking at what lies ahead, I foresee three challenges facing the role of human resources in developing a talent strategy for the future of work. The critical questions we need to ask ourselves are how do we identify the skills needed to compete in the new world; how do we prepare for the technology disruption and re-train our existing staff to be ready; and how do we attract digital talent, knowing that we have to compete with other industries for this same talent pool.

It is important for banks to evolve as rapidly as technology - at least, they must try to.

- Millicent Clarke is regional head of human resources for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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