We are witnessing a global shift in skills: according to several converging studies, around 10% to 20% of jobs are threatened with disappearance by the automation of tasks brought about by robotisation or digital technology. At least as many will be created, and 50% will be profoundly transformed in the next ten years. The same is true in the banking sector, where, as the world changes, jobs adapt and transform.

Banks have also had to adapt, not only because of the emergence of new players, but also because of the changing expectations of their customers. Operations previously performed by bank employees are now done by the customer themselves, and they expect their banker to provide personalised advice. Paradoxically, while we might have thought that digital technology would make the human being disappear, it actually creates new roles. Professional training has to keep pace with these changes and help develop the new profile of bank employee.

What are the main challenges for professional training?

1st challenge : the need for specialisation

The fact is that jobs are becoming more and more specialised and complex. Banks are no longer recruiting generalists, they need specialists.

The IT sector is at the forefront of this movement. According to the Fedil-ABBL study on ICT jobs in 2020, the IT sector is growing steadily: between 2020 and 2022, nearly 1,000 new IT recruits are expected by the 168 companies surveyed, which is the cumulative equivalent of nearly 2 recruitments per working day for 2 years.

Not only is the need for this type of resource growing, but the profiles sought are increasingly specialised. We are no longer looking for a computer scientist, but for programmers, IT project managers, testers, analysts, IT security administrators, application designers, software architects, etc.

2nd challenge : lifelong learning

We are all in a permanent state of programmed obsolescence. If we presume to have knowledge when we leave university, this knowledge will be worthless in a few years’ time if we do not continue to learn.

Moreover, tomorrow’s jobs are no longer linear. No one can claim to have studied for a job and work in the same way for 40 years, and while some jobs will still exist (lawyers, accountants), their working methods are changing, as is the knowledge required. It is likely that artificial intelligence and blockchain will be used in more and more professions, so the expectations for these professions will also change.

Other jobs have already disappeared. The bank teller, as we said, may well think that they have a job with a future… until the day when that job is automated completely. The new norm is to be constantly trained. This is important for everyone, but more so for some than for others. For older people whose jobs have disappeared, it is a vital priority.

For the “augmented seniors”, those whose knowledge has been updated through experience, they are likely to be increasingly sought after, due to the growing talent shortage in the banking sector. They represent a pool of experienced manpower that may lead companies to bring them back into the fold. Many of them engage in mentoring and tutoring, putting their skills to work for younger people.

The other priority of vocational training is these young people, because they are the managers of tomorrow.

3rd challenge : the importance of soft skills

What are the personal qualities that make an ideal employee?

  • be flexible and adaptable, also known as cognitive flexibility, which allows one to adapt to change
  • be quick to change (and not resistant to change)
  • be creative, i.e. have the capacity to conceive innovative ideas for tomorrow
  • have emotional intelligence

Soft skills trainings is an area to focus on.

4th challenge : the new professions

New professions are emerging. Sustainable finance has created some of the most recent ones: it is estimated that between 2019 and 2020 the number of recruitments in sustainable finance has increased by 70% and will continue to grow.

This growth is driven by the role of finance in supporting the climate transition, the assessment of ESG risks, the integration of ESG criteria into products and services, and the implementation of new regulations that impose new transparency and reporting obligations on banks regarding their extra-financial performance.

Moreover, the client 2.0 is becoming a client 3.0: she is increasingly attentive to the environmental and social risks of the securities in his portfolio. Banks therefore need experts in sustainable finance and new jobs are appearing such as ESG risk experts, ESG analysts, reporting officers, chief sustainability officers, etc. Sustainable finance is also entering a number of traditional jobs that are gradually becoming “greener”, such as that of account manager, who must now offer her client a range of sustainable products. Training in sustainable finance is a growth area.

We must have a vision today of the skills that will be needed in the future. We cannot predict what will happen in 20 or 30 years. But what we can be sure of is that skill needs will be increasingly specialised and we must try to anticipate them as much as possible. In a changing world, lifelong learning is definitely the way forward.

Catherine Bourin