IT pros willing to back the bankers
The finance sector has been plagued with bad press over the past five years, with little respite for those in the industry, but despite that, 59% of IT jobseekers would still consider entering financial services, writes Richard Nott, website director at CWJobs.co.uk.
CWJobs has conducted research that shows that despite the high profile issues faced by the industry, IT jobseekers would still consider moving in to the sector. Jobseekers disclosed that it isn’t simply the lure of the banker’s bonus that is driving interest. Nearly three quarters of IT professionals would enter the industry to learn new skills (73%), with the high salary (53%) and benefits (23%) that the sector is renowned for coming secondary.
The IT industry has always been forward thinking and fast moving, and the use of IT within the finance industry hasn’t escaped this either, meaning it is facing new challenges as the technology evolves. Almost half of IT professionals saw this as a positive reason to make the move, with 44% stating they would consider a move into a finance role because they believed the work would be more interesting than what they are currently doing.
IT professionals also see potential disadvantages to working in finance; the majority of respondents (98%) said that they thought the work would be harder, and 88% assumed they would be expected to work longer hours, a view which appears to reflect perceptions of the broader finance industry.
With over two thirds of IT jobseekers interested in this sector, the benefits may outweigh the challenges, as professionals are willing to overlook disadvantages for the perceived benefit of a stimulating and interesting career jump.
The finance industry needs IT professionals to assist with the quickly evolving needs of the sector and its customer’s expectations.
The widespread adoption of online banking means the industry is facing enhanced challenges and threats from viruses and attacks on their online systems. Mobile banking and m-commerce have intensified this, with so much secure and sensitive data being transferred between thousands of devices on a daily basis, security of this data is a priority that cannot be ignored. The widespread reporting of NatWest’s cash application issues have demonstrated how easy it can be to succumb to threats. As technology evolves so do cyber-criminal tactics, creating a sustained demand for specialist IT pros to manage it.
Mobile banking can be accessed on a wide array of mobile handsets. Different handsets use different operating platforms, with some supporting Java ME, others supporting SIM Application Toolkit, and others only using simple SMS. These different mobile platforms mean banks now rely on a variety of types of data encryption and application coding, causing issues in security and interoperability. This requires highly skilled IT professionals to manage and correlate the variety of different needs provided by this mix of platforms.
Financial institutions have acquired a reputation for only recruiting candidates with experience within the sector. With technology and threats advancing at such a phenomenal rate however, a reassessment of this approach is needed. With finance companies now striving to attract new customers and keep on top of the latest technology trends driving our culture, it’s likely a need for specialist IT professionals will also grow.
In order to manage this, banks need to be willing to respond by looking at a wider pool of candidates, with the skills to manage a variety of projects.
While IT professionals have identified the opportunities in this sector, they haven’t forgotten the struggles, only one in five IT jobseekers believes finance is a secure industry. Alongside this, IT professionals do appear to hold some concerns about its accessibility to those who don’t already hold experience in the sector.
This is reflected by 63% of jobseekers saying they thought finance would be a harder sector to enter than other industries. Only 50% believe they would be considered for a role in this industry based on their current CV.
Further demonstrating the barriers to entering the finance sector, nearly half (48%) of IT professionals admitted they didn’t know which skills would be required for a career in finance. Skilled up IT pros could be missing out on opportunities in this sector as a result.
In order to encourage jobseekers to enter this sector, the IT industry needs to place more emphasis on educating IT professionals on what a career in finance entails, and the skill sets required to enter it – both in a professional and educational capacity. With 90% of professionals happy to re-train to enter this sector, it’s clear there is enthusiasm from jobseekers.
As the adoption of banking technology grows, the sector is likely to have a sustained need for skilled, motivated IT professionals to help navigate the challenges presented from innovations and ever-present threats. Encouragingly, CWJobs’ survey responses have demonstrated an eagerness from candidates to enter the sector to fulfill this need. If the finance sector is keen to avoid the technical breaches that have served to further darken the sectors’ image, recruitment of some of these willing IT professionals should be of paramount importance.
It is clear jobseekers are willing to consider moving into the finance sector, perceiving that the benefits of finance outweigh the challenges. Finance institutions should move on from only recruiting candidates with existing sector experience, and look to encourage other professionals into the growing industry that clearly requires them.