The recent redundancies made by Deutsche Bank are just the start of a troubling time for thousands of the bank’s employees, with 18,000 jobs set to go in the business. However, there are plenty of options for talented workers, it just might be necessary to pinpoint the skills that employers are desperately seeking at this time, then upskill or highlight the talents they are looking for.
A changing workforce
If there’s one thing that we’re always reflecting on with candidates and clients it is the constantly changing goalposts for scoring business success. In recent years we have seen the rise of Artifical Intelligence, and then the uncertainty of Brexit creating a difficult environment for employers. And when we have these conversations with clients it is because they are looking for employees with the skills to provide solutions.
In fact, a recent study from Proviti which examines the concerns of the C-Suite, found that employers have three top concerns - competing against ‘born digital’ firms, succession challenges including the ability to attract and retain top talent, and regulatory changes and scrutiny.
The report provides vital insight into which areas employees can upskill to make themselves attractive to employers, and solve. This could be upskilling in a digital arena to improve understanding of modern processes or learning the detail of regulatory processes, either way, the opportunities to become attractive to employers is clear.
Making the next step
Our State of Skills analysis found that an important part of becoming indispensable in finance, and demonstrating that you are management material, is the ability to communicate and listen – the so-called ‘human skills’. For those who progress to financial director roles the dominant traits are ‘active listening’, and the ability to take what someone is saying and simplify it to communicate with a team. While, as you would expect, there is a base of talent with numbers these ‘human skills’ are what set future leaders apart – could this be the time to develop that area of your personality?
Opportunity in the time of adversity
A redundancy when there are bills to pay and people to support is a stressful period. At short notice it is a shock to the system, but with the skillsets instilled in the DNA of a finance professional there are many opportunities to explore.
In a time when many industries are struggling – Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert data found that there are now more than 110,000 professional services and support services companies in significant financial distress – as a candidate this is a good time to re-evaluate what it is you want from a career. Do you value the work, the people you work with, or the ability to affect social change?
We have seen many people take a new turn in their career. And in this current climate the attention to detail and analytical nature of finance professionals is becoming increasingly in demand for a wide range of sectors. For instance, a number of finance professionals have turned from investment banking to teaching. Nick Wergan made the leap over to teaching in 2004 after more than a decade in investment banking, specialising in Emerging European Equities, at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and HSBC Investment Bank. In 2007 he won ‘Teacher of the Year’ and is now head teacher of Steyning Grammar School in West Sussex. This proves that it is not impossible for those who are leaving Deutsche Bank to pick up a new, challenging vocation.
Large scale redundancies are never ideal. The upheaval and anxiety caused is demoralising to all those affected. But with the right knowledge on what businesses are currently looking for there is invaluable insight and direction in the hunt for a new job. Whether that is within the finance industry or another sector, the skills of a finance professional are relevant. It’s just a question of asking, what do businesses need to improve or to stay ahead of the competition? Then tailoring your skills to adapt and thrive.
Rob Russell is director of Reed Finance