The future of talent in banking: workforce evolution in the digital era

April 2018

Every bank is working hard to update its legacy systems and looking to technology to improve operating effectiveness and improve the customer experience. To do so, banks will need significantly deeper and broader technology expertise than they have today. Banks need leaders who understand the kinds of transformation that are possible and can manage change effectively. Emerging technology applications, particularly intelligent automation, are already changing the workforce and are expected to have an increasingly profound impact in the near future. A director said, “We will not know what the bank of the future will be like until we feel our way there. It is clear, however, that one of the big governors of success will be our ability to bring in tech people and integrate them into the guts of the business.”

Previous Bank Governance Leadership Network (BGLN) discussions have explored various aspects of technology transformation. Securing and retaining talent has become essential to competing and innovating in this environment, as banks fight for skilled people not only with their traditional sector rivals but also against a new wave of competition from technology giants and start-ups. As the workforce changes and new skills become increasingly important, bank leaders are being forced to think differently about how talent fits into their strategy from the top down. 

On March 8 (New York) and March 14, 2018 (London), BGLN participants met to discuss the future of talent in banking. Drawing on discussions from both meetings, as well as conversations with network participants in preparation for and immediately following those meetings, this ViewPoints synthesizes the key themes that emerged: 

  • Technology and broader trends are reshaping bank workforces

  • Banks are in the early stages of planning for workforce transformation

  • Talent strategy has become a critical issue for boards