The FD verdict: Is a financial skills gap looming?

We’ve heard it across all sectors, no matter the size of the business: a skills shortage is looming. But is this the case when it comes to finance?

The Robert Half ‘2014 Financial Services Salary Guide‘ found that 99 per cent of the firms they surveyed said that it had become more challenging to find skilled finance professionals. And in order to solve skills gaps employers are recruiting highly skilled workers for low skilled jobs, which results in demotivated bored employees. 

A shocking 95 per cent of board-level executives fear their CFO and top performing finance staff leaving the company – a 28 per cent increase in the year before.

Read more about the UK’s skills gap:

“It’s been a period of seismic change for the financial services industry,” said Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half UK. “Firms have had to re-evaluate their business models, bolster capital and find new areas for growth, all under the watchful eye of both the regulators and the public-at-large. 

“This evolution creates opportunities for firms to change public opinion while also pursuing growth and for talented financial services professionals to make a valued contribution. Regulatory demands continue to evolve, increasing workloads and forcing firms to balance compliance with the pursuit of growth strategies.” 

And it is the opinion of Marcus Courtney, managing director of Metis Human Capital, that the audit sector has faced the most challenges these past few months.

He suggested that “firms now have specific audit functions for almost every area they cover and this has meant they require much greater numbers of specialists. Unfortunately for these organisations, these specialist professionals do not exist, at least not in any significant numbers. As a result, we have seen salaries rise by at least 12 per cent year on year.”

And there seems to be more of a gap in skills rather than an actual shortage when it comes to insurance professionals.

“There’s a huge junior/middle management skills gap within risk for all the same reasons in risk and compliance – particularly for operational risk roles which need two to five years’ experience,” said Courtney. “There is also the ever growing list of regulatory requirements – there’s a real dilemma here as these positions call for expertise in areas that haven’t even previously existed!”

Since 2014, has the shortage gotten any better within the finance sector?

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