INSIGHTS
The need to reskill employees in financial institutions in 2024

Since 2015, the skill sets needed for the same job occupations have changed by around 25%, according to LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2023. By 2027, that number is projected to double. This puts skills training at the core of business priorities for financial institutions for 2024.

Reskilling is a must for financial institutions to address the evolving demands of the financial sector. As roles are becoming less segmented and more universal, we need to take a proactive approach to prepare the workforce for transition and equip them with the skills required for expanded responsibilities.

Why the need for reskilling in the finance sector

Despite fully understanding the importance of employee training, financial institutions have historically faced challenges in adapting their training programs for the digital age. The challenge they face is creating training that resonates with the up-and-coming Gen Z workforce, who will soon be at the forefront of client interactions.

To address these challenges, financial institutions need to not only implement more engaging, immersive, and scalable training methods but also focus their efforts on reskilling their workforce. Here’s why this shift is necessary.

 

Changing customer behaviors

The banking sector is a great illustration of the need to reskill the workforce. The number of branches of commercial banks and savings institutions in the U.S. has been declining steadily for over a decade. The number of branches has gone down from 82,126 in 2013, to 69,905 physical locations in just 10 years.1

As banks actively embrace technology and mobile banking, branch numbers will continue to be in a permanent state of contraction for years to come.

With most operations available through a banking app, fewer customers turn to bank tellers for routine transactions. While branches are closing, the number of mobile banking users2 is only going to grow — by 2025, 80.4%3 of the targeted population is expected to use banking apps.

Today, people call support reps to get assistance through banking app navigation rather than request services. And when they do come to a branch, they expect different, more personal services from tellers.

This shift in customer behavior underscores the need for reskilling employees in financial institutions, and the sooner the better. You need to shift the focus of your training programs from operational roles and back-office tasks to customer-centricity, agility, and leadership.

 

Automation and AI are playing a greater role

By 2030, activities accounting for up to 30%4 of working hours could be automated. Generative AI has only accelerated this trend. According to McKinsey projections, banking is expected to benefit most from embracing AI-powered automation — an annual increase in operational profits between $200 billion and $340 billion5, largely due to increased operational effectiveness.

McKinsey also suggests that data and analytics are going to “enable every step in the value chain to a much greater extent.” The deeper AI roots in the financial industry and day-to-day operations, the more pressing the need for highly skilled employees with strong data analytics and decision-making skills.

 

Change is accelerating

After years of development, the financial industry successfully implemented mobile banking apps, significantly enhancing customer experience and accessibility. Now, commercial banks are swiftly embracing Gen AI technologies, revolutionizing their operational models and fundamentally altering how they conduct business.

From customer interactions to risk management and fraud detection, AI applications will become integral components of the industry’s value chain. Industry leaders are already actively adding AI-powered solutions to their toolkits. For instance, Goldman Sachs is working toward enabling AI-powered hedging6, and JPMorgan Chase already has over 300 use cases for AI in practice.

As change accelerates, staying ahead requires more than just technological adaptation — it demands a workforce that is agile, innovative, and capable of leading through transformation. Reskilling programs should extend beyond the technical aspects of AI to nurture a culture of adaptability, creativity, and strategic thinking among employees.

 

Up-and-coming Gen Z workforce

Good old training methods like verbal lecturing and classroom-based training won’t work for Gen Z employees who will soon become the backbone of the financial workforce. To be completely honest, they don’t seem to work for Millennials either.

First off, among all the generations, Gen Zers see the most critical need7 for companies to transform. More than others, they’re open to learning skills that are of interest to them and pursuing development opportunities — and they expect their employers to offer pathways for professional growth. In fact, 31%8 of workers aged 18-34 prioritize opportunities to learn and develop new skills when looking for a new job.

Next, contrary to many Baby Boomers and Gen X, Gen Z talents aren’t likely to sign up for one job position for life. Sixty-two percent9 of Gen Z employees are either actively or passively seeking a new job at the moment. While the “corporate ladder” mindset doesn’t appeal to this generation, there’s a solution that will help you retain Gen Z and encourage them to grow within your organization — you need to create a culture of internal mobility.

Internal mobility involves offering opportunities for employees to explore different roles and departments within the organization. A successful reskilling program will help you prepare your workforce for making a lateral move.

 

The challenges of employee reskilling in FS

As many as 52%10 of learning and development (L&D) specialists rank upskilling and reskilling employees as their top priority. However, they should be prepared to face and address obstacles that will slow down their transformative initiatives.

“Skills are integral to business success and a driver of competitive advantage and growth”

Claire Tunley

CEO | Financial Services Skills Commission

These are the biggest challenges on your way to successful employee reskilling:

  • Legacy systems: We should face it — existing core banking systems aren’t optimized11 to accommodate the market’s rising expectations. And before going all in on reskilling, we need to modernize the systems first.
  • Change resistance: The level of employee willingness to support organizational change plummeted from 74%12 in 2016 to a mere 43% by 2022. Capterra’s findings reveal that 71%13 of employees feel overwhelmed by ongoing change. People are tired, and now, we have to come to them with another disruption — that’s not the easiest thing to handle.
  • Employee disengagement: Seventy-seven percent of the global workforce is either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.14 Disengaged employees may be less likely to invest time and effort into reskilling activities, undermining the whole idea of restoring employee engagement through learning and development.
  • The need for a cultural shift: The transformation in L&D should start at the cultural level. Whether introducing new training methods or cultivating internal mobility, it shouldn’t happen out of the blue. You need to make sure your workforce is on board — and it will take time before people adopt the new culture.

All in all, the biggest roadblock is the mindset:

“Financial institutions struggle with implementing effective employee training because it is most often considered a “necessary evil” line item in someone’s budget and as a non-revenue generating profit drag. This attitude comes from a serious lack of understanding of what Learning and Development can provide for a financial institution – profit magnification and, actually, opportunities for creating additional lines of revenue as well as creating customer channels, and improving employee morale and loyalty through self-development.”

Rick Jacobs

Learning and Development Consultant and Strategist

 

Your solution to successfully reskilling the workforce: Attensi

Ongoing digital transformation, changing responsibilities of finance professionals, and a new generation entering the workforce — these are just a few factors disrupting the way finance institutions operate. The good news is, Attensi offers solutions to overcome those challenges and lead reskilling in financial institutions successfully.

No more lecturing — Attensi follows a game-based simulation training approach, that creates a more engaging, scalable training environment. It is experiential learning rather than just knowledge acquisition. It ensures that trainees can apply their learning to their real-life roles and achieve mastery of skills.

Engaging learning experiences

With Attensi, you can center your reskilling programs around more engaging training formats such as game-based learning, virtual reality (VR) simulations, and collaborative experiences. You can track and measure engagement to ensure the best outcomes from the training.

Scalable training environment

Attensi’s gamified training solutions allow financial institutions to adapt and grow their reskilling programs to meet the evolving demands of the industry. We deliver training across more than 150 countries in over 50 languages.

Micro-skilling

Through Attensi’s mobile training app, employees can access bite-sized training modules that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Bite-sized elements are engaging and help learners to acquire and retain knowledge more quickly. By providing realistic context to the lessons, you can upskill and apply those skills to your real-life roles.

Reskilling employees during a time of change creates challenges, but equipped with the right tools, banks can foster a training environment tailored to their employees’ needs, ultimately elevating the client experience and staying ahead in a competitive market. 

Curious to explore how Attensi is reshaping the training landscape for banks? Book a demo now.

Are you ready to level up your training?

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Sources

  1. BankFind Suite: Find Annual Historical Bank Data,banks.data.fdic.gov/explore/historical/?displayFields=STNAME%2CTOTAL%2CBRANCHES%2CNew_Char%2COFFICES%2CUNIT%2CBRANCHIN&selectedEndDate=2022&selectedReport=CBS&selectedStartDate=1934&selectedStates=0&sortField=YEAR&sortOrder=desc
  2. Number of active online banking users worldwide in 2020 with forecasts from 2021 to 2024, by region, statista.com/statistics/1228757/online-banking-users-worldwide/
  3. Forecasted penetration rate of digital banking in the United States from 2021 to 2025, statista.com/statistics/1285979/digital-banking-penetration-rate-usa/
  4. Generative AI and the future of work in America, mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/generative-ai-and-the-future-of-work-in-america
  5. Capturing the full value of generative AI in banking, mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/capturing-the-full-value-of-generative-ai-in-banking
  6. Goldman Sachs hedges its bets with AI,nasdaq.com/articles/goldman-sachs-hedges-its-bets-with-ai
  7. For Gen Z employees, loyalty is a two-way street, pwc.com/gx/en/issues/c-suite-insights/the-leadership-agenda/for-gen-z-employees-loyalty-is-a-two-way-street.html
  8. Building the agile future, learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/workplace-learning-report/LinkedIn-Learning_Workplace-Learning-Report-2023-EN.pdf#page=27?trk=bl-po&veh=What_Is_Internal_Mobility
  9. What Business Needs To Know AboutThe Generation Changing Everything, oliverwymanforum.com/content/dam/oliver-wyman/ow-forum/template-scripts/a-gen-z/pdf/A-Gen-Z-Report.pdf
  10. The Transformation of L&D,learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/workplace-learning-report/2022-Workplace-Learning-Report-Finance.pdf
  11. Modernizing legacy systems in banking,https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/financial-services/articles/modernizing-legacy-systems-in-banking.html
  12. This New Strategy Could Be Your Ticket to Change Management Success, gartner.com/en/articles/this-new-strategy-could-be-your-ticket-to-change-management-success
  13. Change Fatigue is Making Employee Burnout Worse, capterra.com/resources/change-fatigue-in-the-workplace/
  14. State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx