Software investment outpacing skill investment for technology.

Upskilling not meeting demand.

A report by Adecco suggests financial executives recognise that technology is key to driving their business forward, however only a few plan to significantly increase investment in upskilling their workforce to leverage this technology.

The research titled, People, Technology and the Future of Upskilling, which surveyed 500 managers, directors, and business owners at SMEs, found that less than a third (28 per cent) of the finance executives surveyed said they are currently spending or planning to spend money on upskilling their existing workforce to work alongside technology. This is compared to nearly half (47 per cent) who say they plan to spend on software investment to improve worker productivity, and half (50 per cent) who are focused on investing in data and research.

The research also suggests that while financial executives are not planning to invest in upskilling to align with new technology, they do recognise the importance of it for retaining staff. Financial organisations believe that the key benefits of technology for their workforce in the next three years will be that employees will be able to do their jobs more effectively (49 per cent), and there will be increased productivity (46 per cent).

“With some of the most successful companies in the UK being financial institutions, it’s important that they adapt their ways of working to embrace new technologies and equip their staff with the skills they need,” said Shelley Preston, head of Adecco Retail. “This will help them to maintain their competitive edge against other organisations. A simple place to start is upskilling their workforce to benefit from the technology investments they’re already making. The good news is that the workforce is keen to work with technology and would like to develop the right skills for doing so.”

While many financial executives (75 per cent) believe that technology will impact the types of skills their company needs in the next three years and recognise that achieving a balanced human-machine alliance is vital, most admit that due to it not being a business priority they are unable to benefit from the value that lies at the cross section of people and technology.

Preston continued: “Financial organisations that bring people and technology together have the potential to transform their business. The sector needs to wake up to this reality and commit to upskilling their workforce, in order for them to effectively deploy the technology and profit from it.”

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