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Banking: Why investing in human capital is a key driver of success

Banking: Why investing in human capital is a key driver of success

Companies need to invest in people as much as they do in technology, as reskilling employees is both cost-effective and offers significant mid to long-term dividends

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Jamal Al Jassmi

With digitalisation sweeping through the banking industry, training professionals to face digital transformation and investing in human capital is becoming a priority to make the most of the evolving economic opportunity and a key driver of economic success.

The ongoing technological advancement is driving rapid change in the skills requirements for the financial services workforce. According to The Future of Jobs Report 2020 published by the World Economic Forum, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs, and skills by 2025. Skills gaps continue to be high as in-demand skills across jobs change in the next five years.

The top skills and skill groups that employers see as rising in prominence in the lead-up to 2025 include groups such as critical thinking and analysis as well as problem-solving, and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.

Digital and technology awareness, data literacy and analytics, cybersecurity, and blockchain are also some of the essential skills for securing the future success of financial services and tackling the ongoing skills gap.

On average, companies estimate that around 40 per cent of workers will require reskilling of six months or less and 94 per cent of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65 per cent in 2018, the report said.

While around 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines, and algorithms.

With the adoption of digitalisation and the wide use of artificial intelligence, companies need to invest in people as much as they invest in technology keeping in mind that reskilling employees is both cost-effective and has significant mid to long-term dividends. Companies will also need to invest in developing their training programs to tap into their workforce’s creativity and help them remain agile and flexible.

The new generation of banking and finance students are in tune with this technological disruption in the sector and have been exposed to a digital, tech-driven banking space, but the older generation bankers who are used to certain processes and operating models could find the changes challenging. For this group, there is an urgent need for reskilling to prepare them for the current transformation as well as any potential future disruptions.

The UAE government is at the forefront of embracing new technologies and it is vital that we nurture an interest in this dynamic field among UAE nationals and financial professionals. Talented young Emiratis who are eager to know more about banking and finance technology should have access to relevant professional training.

Banks in the UAE have a special role to play in this regard, and as a banking training institute, we, at Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies, are keen to develop financial cadres well-versed in these cutting-edge technologies and prepare them for the future through a range of international certificates, professional training, Insight e-learning, and learning bundles.

Jamal Al Jassmi is the general manager of the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies

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