UK financial services workers consider career change

The shift towards flexible working as a result of COVID-19 has prompted some re-evaluation among financial services workers, with almost half (44%) considering a career change as a result of the pandemic.

According to research by KPMG and the Financial Services Skills Commission, a third of workers (31%) said they will be looking for new roles within the year, despite the current challenging job market. The desire for a career change appears to be a trend across the UK’s workforce, with 46% of workers across all industries considering new roles as a result of the pandemic.

Among those financial services workers looking for a career change, 13% said they would not choose the sector again for their next career move – rising to 16% of 18-30 year olds. Those who said they would not work in the sector again cited long hours (15%), long commutes (13%) and heavy regulation (9%) as key factors driving their decision.

Karim Haji, Head of Financial Services, KPMG UK, said: “As we spend more time at home away from our colleagues and offices, it makes sense that many will be questioning their current roles and choices and what the future might hold. With so many considering a career change, financial services must take this time to promote itself positively and wipe the slate clean when it comes to the associations people make with it, if it is to be genuinely competitive for talent.

“Positively, some of the work on this is already underway. The pandemic has spurred many financial services firms to make positive changes and ditch some of their more conservative employee policies in line with other sectors. This will go far in tackling misperceptions of the industry and help it attract more diverse employees, as well as retain current talent.”

The survey showed the sector has retained its reputation for strong remuneration and career progression. Competitive salaries (54%) and good employee benefits, such as insurance and private healthcare (35%), were listed by employees as top drivers towards the sector. Among under 30s, a third (31%) said that progression opportunities were a key attribute attracting them to the sector.

However, just 15% of those working in the industry listed good training as a motivator to remain. Claire Tunley, CEO of the Financial Services Skills Commission, said: “The sector has a real opportunity to learn from the experience of the pandemic to create a strengthened employee offering, building on its existing reputation for good pay and progression. This will be key to securing talent over the coming months and years. If they want their talent to have the skills they need to deliver the best outcomes for businesses, employers will need to match new digital ways of working with increased investment in training.”

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