Skills Gap – Strategies for finding and retaining new talent

Wealth Management and Private Banking

16 November 2023

CompetitionCultureMeeting of MindsRecruitmentRetentionTechWealth Management and Private Banking

Expert: Anne Hammond, HR Director, SEI Investments (Europe) Ltd Facilitator: Niall Buggy, Partner, Asset & Wealth Management, Davies Group


  1. Strategies being used to address recruitment and retention - Individual participants shared strategies their organisations are using to attract and retain talent, including graduate programmes, apprenticeships, diversity initiatives, internal mobility programmes, flexible/hybrid working options, focusing on company culture and purpose as differentiators, skills-based hiring, and stay interviews.
  2. Industry attractiveness and transferable skills - The group discussed whether the financial services industry is attractive to talent anymore, especially tech talent. Emphasis was placed on hiring for transferable skills over industry-specific credentials, which opens up a bigger pool of candidates.
  3. Compensation competitiveness - Challenges were noted around compensation competitiveness with other industries like tech and consulting which can pay much higher salaries and bonuses. But culture and work-life balance were argued to offset this for some candidates.
  4. Communication and career development - Regular career development conversations, transparency on pay, clear bonus structures, and delivering on promises were advocated as better than just annual reviews for retention. Succession planning terminology was viewed negatively versus career development.
  5. Maintaining flexibility - Offering hybrid working and maintaining flexibility were seen as key differentiators in attracting talent now versus going back to old ways of working. Company culture that supports this was emphasised.


The discussion started with introductions of participants from various financial services firms and regulators. Common challenges were highlighted like aging workforce and impending retirements, skill gaps especially in tech/digital, low diversity, and competition for talent from other industries.

The discussion covered strategies for finding and retaining talent in the financial services industry. Key topics included the challenges of an aging workforce with many nearing retirement, competition for talent from other industries like tech, the importance of company culture in attracting and retaining staff, using skills-based hiring instead of just credentials, the generational differences in what younger staff want from employers, the need for better succession planning and talent pipelines, the pros and cons of performance-based pay, regular career development conversations instead of just annual reviews, and maintaining work-life balance and flexibility.

The key point was that there is a war for talent across industries now and financial services struggles to compete on compensation with some other industries. There was consensus that company culture and purpose matter more now, especially to younger staff. Hiring for transferable skills instead of just credentials in finance opens up a bigger pool. Communication, transparency on pay and bonuses, and providing a good career development path are crucial for retention. Many advocated getting away from rigid succession planning and thinking more broadly about developing bench strength. Hybrid working and maintaining flexibility are seen as key differentiators now too.

Key takeaways:

  • Research best practices for skills-based hiring and job descriptions to open up candidate pool beyond just credentials
  • Review your compensation and bonus structure to ensure competitiveness with other industries you are competing against for talent
  • Develop a career development programme for employees focused on regular check-ins and conversations, not just annual reviews
  • Survey employees on desires for flexibility, hybrid working, and work-life balance as you shape post-pandemic policies
  • Analyse employee demographics and project retirements to identify critical gaps and roles for succession planning
  • Interview recent turnover to identify any themes related to culture, compensation, career development that can guide retention strategies
  • Consider ways you can modify our culture and employee value proposition to better attract young talent and Millennials
  • Rethink your college recruitment and graduate training programmes to focus less on operational rotations and more on skills
  • Develop an alumni outreach programme to keep in touch with former employees as potential rehires or referrals
  • Review your employer branding and external messaging to ensure you convey purpose, culture, and values to candidates
  • Send managers and HR team to training programmes on conducting skills-based interviews and avoiding biased language
  • Incorporate regular discussions of career aspirations and development into managers' Key Performance Indicators