Closing the Skills Gap in Banking

Jessamy Amic

Posted: September 16, 2022

Table of Contents

The South African banking industry has identified major gaps in the skills needed to continue as one of the most advanced and well-functioning in the world. As local banks continue to expand their hiring initiatives and hard-to-fill vacancies, they are also facing the challenges of relevant skills development, accelerated digitalisation, employee retention and recruitment.

With a recent survey stating that nearly a quarter of South African adults are expected to bank with a digital-only bank by 2023, our local institutions are on a mission to lead the way.

So how can they stay on top?

As South African banks add services to their portfolios to include the likes of retail, insurance and business sector banking, the need for tech and data skills increases too. Many local banks have implemented upskilling and recruitment policies to ensure that their teams are up to date in their fields and can confidently lessen the impact of absent skills

The focus for which skills to develop based on the needs and gaps are:

Cyber security
With cybercrime posing an imminent threat to the banking sector, there has been an uptake in the demand for cybersecurity skills and the need to protect data, networks, and systems from possible threats. Needing specialised and sought-after skills, the banking sector can look to manage and mitigate potential risks and threats with specialised skills offered in programmes for FinTech, Digital Transformation, Risk Management, Data & AI Training, and Artificial Intelligence.

Digital literacy
Navigating an increasingly digital landscape has been a challenge, and as South Africa accelerates what we do online, it is key that employees fundamentally understand how banking continues to grow in a digital age. Employees and teams alike need to confidently navigate and keep up in a world that is fully integrated with diverse technologies, clearly and effectively communicate online, innovate and share ideas virtually, as well as manage teams digitally.

By establishing work readiness programmes, banks are focusing on scarce occupations and skills gaps, and employers will have the opportunity to upskill or re-skill workers whose positions have/will become outdated as a result of digitalisation. Employees will need to continue to gain fundamental power skills, such as adaptability, problem-solving and time management, enabling them to keep pace with rapid advancement in the workplace.

Managers and functional roles can close the skills gap by upskilling and reskilling in the key areas of Operations Management, Coaching for Performance, and Business and Management Development.

Data Analysis
As one of the first adopters of data analytics, financial institutions rely on implementing the right tools and technologies to collect, analyse, and draw fair conclusions from the data they gather. Whether this is to identify threats, track customer trends or verify information – data is key to ensuring banks can create innovative solutions to persistent issues and cater to their existing and future clients’ needs. Learn more about customers, forecast growth opportunities, better manage risks, improve the customer experience, and remain competitive with the latest data and AI skills.

Experiencing a significant “brain drain” in recent years, a trend likely to continue in the South African economy as skilled resources consider emigrating to secure employment and educational opportunities elsewhere, international companies are increasingly interested in poaching the skilled South African workforce, renowned for its strong work ethic. It is key to highlight the opportunities within our local economy and what businesses can do to stimulate economic growth and meet the skills gap challenges head-on.

Masterstart can help your organisation close the skills gap, through our content and course delivery, centered on workplace applicability, supported by industry experts and our university partners. If you’d like to learn how we can help in tackling your organisations learning and development Masterstart SA, our skills advisory company, is focussed on minimising an organisation’s training spend and increasing your Return on Learning Investment (ROLI).

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