By Tony Brookes, Sales Director, Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software
According to a recent report1 from PwC, the anxiety of CEOs in the financial services sector regarding the availability of key skills continues to rise. 76 per cent of FS CEOs worry about shortages of digital skills within their workforce, while 91 per cent of FS CEOs believe they need to strengthen soft skills such as the creativity and emotional intelligence needed to innovate and connect with customers, according to the report.
Expansion into emerging markets, changes in finance products and regulations, the increasing use of technologies such as AI and predictive analytics, and Brexit means that finding talented people who can add value from day one is becoming more and more difficult. There has been a sharp decline in interest from EU graduates looking for UK jobs since the Brexit referendum; a recent LinkedIn survey2 states that as Brexit impacts upon the financial services industry, UK educated workers are taking a larger share of new financial services hires and the industry is becoming less international as a result.
What is required is a clear strategy for the whole recruitment and retention process, from planning the search and the brief, to looking at different ways of not only attracting talent but also keeping it through the crucial first few months.
Planning the search
Organisations in this dynamic sector understandably want to hire staff who can hit the ground running. However, for roles where soft skills – in short supply in this sector – are required, organisations should consider how flexible they will be in hiring staff with transferable skills from other sectors, and there are indications that they are starting to do this. At the same time, they need to examine closely what they are offering these hard-to-find recruits. Initial impressions are important – a good company brand, an easy-to-navigate and nicely presented, informative careers page with real visual appeal and which offer a good candidate experience during the recruitment process are vital if candidates are not to be tempted by competitors. Recent research we undertook shows that websites of even many top FTSE250 companies lack a specific graduate or careers page.
In addition to the usual company benefits, companies should look at the so-called ‘soft’ benefits that might sway candidates in their favour. Millennials in particular are more likely to be attracted by, for example, flexible and remote working, diversity, opportunities for learning and development and to contribute to wider society through their organisation, together with a supportive environment that promotes health and wellness.
The recruitment cycle
A slow, unresponsive recruitment process may lose the best candidates to companies with a more strategic approach designed to keep in touch with potential recruits at every step, and offer them flexible options such as the opportunity to conduct initial interviews by video from their homes. And, once hired, a surprising number of applicants either disappear before turning up for work on the first day, – so-called ‘ghost employees’ – or leave shortly after they have started, sometimes due to the information void that can occur between offer and acceptance of a job and a lack of a good onboarding process where the candidate is encouraged to feel they have made the right decision.
A bad candidate recruitment experience can not only damage a company’s relationship with a promising candidate but even an entire brand – candidates often do share their impressions online. The recruitment experience starts from the first view of the website and the careers page right the way through the entire recruitment process.
New ways of recruiting
These recruitment challenges are driving companies to use a wider range of recruitment options. Building a good brand and reputation and effective use of social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and increasingly other tools such as Instagram and Snapchat as well as, where appropriate, the more traditional route of press advertising and recruitment agencies often produces the best results.
In addition, companies are increasingly harnessing the power of online recruitment systems. These best of these platforms support the entire recruitment journey, including an applicant tracking system (ATS) to promote the role(s) on offer, posting simultaneously to multiple job boards including specialist boards. They ensure that there is a focus during the candidate recruitment journey on regular and frequent engagement with the potential employee so that throughout the various stages the candidate feels involved, up to and beyond onboarding. Such systems automate a great deal of routine work, including personalised acknowledgement of communications from a candidate and providing them with updates.
A business case for an integrated end-to-end recruitment process using an online recruitment system – which can be used by start-ups as well as large organisations – includes internal and external recruitment process efficiencies, reduction on dependency on agencies and expensive job advertising, improvement in the quality of candidates as the net can be cast more widely and the process is more efficient which means fewer good ones drop out, and better management information and compliance reporting. Hiring managers can quickly check where each candidate is at each stage of the process and can search on key words in online CVs and application forms for key skills, while the system performs background and criminal records checking if required, collects the required information about new hires and provides them with information they will need for the pre-onboarding and onboarding processes .
Retail Merchant Services
Retail Merchant Services, the largest independent card processing provider in the UK, is an example of a company that has found an online recruitment system very helpful in speeding up recruitment. As the company has grown, recruitment needs have increased substantially and the manual process they were using was becoming too time-consuming, particularly with a team of recruiters managing multiple vacancies. The seamless integration of the system with the company’s careers page and branding, together with the improved speed and efficiency of hiring for both the company and candidates have proved of great benefit to the company.
The need for a good recruitment and talent management strategy in the financial services sector, taking advantage of the latest technology developments to recruit, has never been more vital and will remain key to the success of this industry through the dramatic changes it is now undergoing.
HOW FINANCIAL SERVICES CAN GET TO GRIPS WITH RISING SUPPLY CHAIN RISK
By Alex Saric, smart procurement expert, Ivalua
UK businesses have never been more dependent on their suppliers to help them deliver goods and services to their customers. Be it retail, manufacturing or financial services, suppliers have a vital role to play when it comes to innovation and meeting customer expectations. However, as supply chains become increasingly global, businesses are potentially exposing themselves to more risk than ever before.
This is especially true in financial services. Whether it’s the impact of geopolitical events like Brexit or global tariff wars, supply shortages, security or the businesses impact on the environment, an organisation’s failure to identify and mitigate risk could see millions wiped off its share price, and its corporate reputation left in tatters. Risk can present itself anywhere and at any time, so financial services firms must be ready to address it. However, many simply don’t have the ability to evaluate suppliers for risk factors, leaving them wide open to business operations being hindered, or being slapped with financial penalties.
More suppliers, increasing risk
One reason why financial services firms aren’t able to evaluate suppliers is the breadth and scale of today’s supply chains. For example, French oil company Total said in in a recent human rights briefing paper that they work with over 150,000 direct suppliers worldwide. This is just one example of how large and varied the roster of partners has become. Research from Ivalua has found that financial services businesses on average are working with around 3,600 suppliers annually, which is evenly split between UK-based and international partners. That number is expected to rise, with 60% expecting the number of suppliers they work with to rise.
The expanding nature of suppliers is only going to expose financial services firms to more potential risk than ever before, yet 78% say they face challenges gaining complete visibility into suppliers and their activities.
A lack of supplier visibility leaves businesses unable to identify and mitigate against supply chain risk. In fact, almost three-quarters (73%) of financial services firms have experienced some type of risk during the last 12 months. These include; supplier failure (43%), environmental impact, such as pollution or waste (35%) and supply shortages (45%). Supply shortages can be among the most damaging to a business, as seen by both the KFC chicken shortage which closed stores, and the summer 2018 CO2 shortage which caused companies such as Heineken and Coca-Cola to pause production, impacting supply across Europe during the World Cup.
Businesses unprepared for the worst
One way financial services firms can better prepare for risk is to ensure they know what to plan for to reduce the impact. However, whilst some say they have a contingency plan in place to deal with risk, many of them are unprepared. Financial services firms admitted to not having comprehensive and deployed contingency plans in place to prepare the supply chain for risk such as; natural disasters (68%), supply shortages (67%), geopolitical changes (65%), environmental impact (63%), supplier failure (62%) and modern slavery (50%).
In order to effectively prepare for these types of risks, it’s vital that financial services businesses fully understand their suppliers, their business environment, global variations in regulations, geopolitics, and a host of other factors. But for many, there are multiple challenges when it comes to gaining this understanding. A prevailing factor is an inability to gain visibility into all suppliers and activity because supplier management data is stored in multiple locations and formats, making insights difficult to access. This leaves teams unable to review supplier activity and assess compliance.
Making supplier management smarter
It’s imperative that financial services businesses are able to respond or prepare for supply chain risk. Clearly, much more needs to be done to ensure they have complete visibility of suppliers, especially in an era where regulators can levy heavy fines for GDPR breaches and scandals spread in minutes over social media. These types of risks can be reduced in the future if procurement teams have a 360-degree view of suppliers which will help with contingency planning and risk management.
For example, in the instance of supply shortages, plans could be put in place that identify alternative suppliers to ensure any shortages do not impact end users. This type of supplier collaboration is paramount when it comes to managing and mitigating against supplier shortages. When it comes to regulations, financial services firms can’t allow a lack of visibility to limit their ability to ensure all suppliers are compliant.
To do this, teams must take a smarter approach to procurement that gives complete visibility into suppliers throughout the supply chain. This will allow financial services firms to identify and plan for risk, reducing the potential damage, and ensuring they are working with and awarding business to low-risk suppliers. Supply chain risk is rapidly becoming an overarching concern for financial services firms, but by providing the ability to assess suppliers, they will have all the insights they need to mitigate the impact on business operations.
ISO 20022 – THE BEDROCK FOR PAYMENTS TRANSFORMATION
Lauren Jones, Global Payments Ambassador, Icon Solutions
The financial services industry has seen ISO 20022 grow firmly over the last 15 years. What was then a small pocket of countries tackling migration has now become widespread adoption for domestic and international payments.
And with momentum building, it is clear that IS0 20022 is playing a foundational role for banks in the transformation of their infrastructures, with the rich messaging format delivering business benefits and enabling enhanced customer propositions.
The time is now for ISO 20022
European initiatives, such as SEPA, were the first to drive usage, but have since catalysed a network effect in other countries. Recent examples driving adoption include the New Payments Platform in Australia and the Bank of England’s Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service doing the same in the UK.
Despite the timeline delay, the SWIFT migration to ISO 20022 for cross-border payments will drive further adoption and it is clear to see why. As the world becomes more connected, having a globally interoperable standard is attractive. ISO 20022 allows banks to have a consistent experience across geographies and provides a low-risk approach to modernisation.
In the US things are moving as well. With the country’s most important payments market infrastructures, the Fedwire and The Clearing House Interbank RTP system, migrating their High Value Payment (HVP) systems almost concurrently, widespread ISO 20022 has reached a tipping point.
For US banks this means it is important to understand that ISO 2022 is no longer happening “somewhere else”. Banks dealing with the modernisation of infrastructure need to decide what will become the bedrock of their transformation efforts. ISO 20022 seems to be the only sensible choice.
ISO 20022 in practice
While banks in the US and across the world grapple with ISO 20022, it is crucial that they engage internal and external stakeholders early on in their journey to define their strategy. Resources should also be pulled from all areas of a bank, including technology, operations, AML, product and sales.
Implementation is not just a technical issue. Governance, sequencing and coordinating activities are all vital for success. Banks need to lay a foundation where legacy systems are ringfenced, but it is equally important for them to understand how to move rich data through or around legacy infrastructure as early as possible.
Deciding what to do with legacy systems is a challenge for many financial institutions. Therefore it can be useful to deploy mapping or translation services in the early stages of adoption. In fact, many market infrastructure ISO 20022 programs include a phased approach where there is a like-for-like phase (where no new functionality is used), allowing adopters to become familiar with the new standard.
This is often followed by multi-year adoption of new functionality and gradual decommissioning of legacy formats. However, mapping should not be viewed as a longer-term solution. To harness the full value of ISO 20022, supporting the standardisation natively allows banks to build from the ground up. This creates a modern data model where both internal efficiency and external value can be realised.
ISO 20022 is the way to deliver added value
One of the major drivers for ISO 20022 adoption is to remain competitive. By implementing a common standard banks can have a platform to innovate at pace and with lower costs.
Many banks now see ISO 20022 as a critical foundational element to deliver value to their corporate clients. But the benefits of ISO 20022 are not solely external. Increasingly, APIs are being used to support both deep integration within the bank and with a broad spectrum of fintech partners. ISO 20022 allows the capability of having a single data model across various computer languages and therefore across multiple use cases.
With a shift towards data-driven architecture, ISO 20022 allows banks to generate greater amounts of standardised data to provide targeted insight. The move to ISO 20022 will therefore be of paramount importance for banks to take advantage of richer, standardised data sets. With more payment volumes set to adopt ISO 20022 by 2025, the discussion is moving on from the standard simply serving transactional needs to the data that can be extracted from these transactions.
Prioritising payments transformation
In other words, over the next few years we will see payments being refocused from a commoditised proposition to a strategic, value-adding one. Yet being “data-aware” is not good enough. Banks need to be powered by that data. As cutting costs is no longer enough to sustain banks, they must use payments data to deliver more appealing propositions and revenue-boosting, value-added services.
As the adoption of ISO 20022 remains fragmented in the US for the time being, many banks will continue to question how best to take advantage of the standard. However, it should be evident that ISO 20022 is coming and the time to prepare is now.
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