Is now the time to “reskill to fill” the financial services skills gap?

As recently as 2022, the financial services skills gap was at record levels. There were so many vacancies that hiring managers despaired of ever managing to fill them.

Since then, serious progress has been made. There are more financial service jobs, but they seem comparatively faster to fill and employees stay in them for longer.

However, not every accountancy and financial sector business has been able to fill all of the skills gaps they need to address.

Those that have cite “reskilling” as key to filling those roles. If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, here are the most important takeaways about what has become known as the “reskill to fill” approach:

What is reskilling (and why is it so important)?

In this context, reskilling is the process of teaching team members already within your organisation the skills they need to meet the needs of other roles you need to fill.

These skills are often linked to but slightly outside of their current job role. They may potentially even lead to a new career direction altogether, thereby allowing businesses to fill very different, highly in-demand roles.

This is important. Because financial recruitment and talent retention remain on something of a knife edge. Yet the jobs that are most in-demand are frequently those that could be classed as outside of main business purpose for many finance sector organisations.

This means that opening up paths to internal mobility within your organisation can be key to making sure your skills needs are met.

What financial service jobs are hard to fill?

Since that 2022 skills gap height, the most challenging financial service jobs to fill have changed quite a bit. Currently, the greatest demand is for skills that are related to financial services, yet might not always require extensive financial knowledge:

*Technology jobs – specifically those related to data and software and others required for the digital transformation that so many firms still need to complete.

*Cybersecurity – cybersecurity and cyber risk assessment jobs remain difficult to fill UK-wide. This is worth a specific mention for a sector like banking and finance, where strong data security is critical. The financial cybersecurity skills gap may be as high as 33%.

*Machine learning and AI jobs – many leaders see the adoption of machine learning technology as key to enhancing staff productivity. Unfortunately, demand for AI skills still outstrips supply. Around 34% of all machine learning jobs in the sector may be unfilled.

*Product managers – have hit the “difficult to fill” category for the first time in many years.

*Jobs related to empathy, teamwork, and coaching skills – these and other soft skills like problem-solving are in rapid and growing demand across the industry.

What does the future of financial recruitment look like?

It hasn’t escaped the notice of many hiring managers and recruiters in the accounting and finance industry that many of the jobs that need to be filled are those calling for skills that are adjacent to the main purpose of most businesses in the sector.

This means that it’s not impossible that many firms will continue to “reskill to fill” those positions by offering retraining to internal candidates, allowing team members to expand – for instance – their machine learning expertise while retaining their financial knowledge in-house.

At the same time, freshly vacant jobs in more traditional areas of the business could be filled by fresh external talent that suddenly seems in moderately more stable supply.

Finally, it has been estimated that around a quarter of a million employees in the finance sector will retire or leave for other reasons in the next decade. In short, for many financial services businesses, if there isn’t a skills gap now, there may be soon.

This makes choosing to “reskill to fill” and continue with strong recruitment processes vital both now and in years to come.

Need a little expert assistance sourcing the most suitable talent for your business?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist financial recruitment agency. Our market-leading AI recruitment technology and proven, open, and honest process matches you with the top candidates from our deep talent pool.

Reach out to us today to book a cost and commitment-free consultation with one of our experts.