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New research shows 160k workers require upskilling

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Financial services could contribute an additional £555 million to the UK economy annually by closing skills gaps

The financial services industry could contribute an additional £555.6 million per year to the UK economy by closing its skills gaps to boost productivity, according to a new report published today by the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC), supported by PwC and EY.

The report, titled ‘People + Technology: How skills can unlock value for Financial Services’, was launched today with industry leaders at Mansion House. It found that 160,000 workers across the industry (16%) currently require upskilling, with investment in skills across the industry failing to keep pace with changing skills needs driven by technological advancements, evolving customer and workforce demographics, and ongoing geopolitical challenges.

The report found that 73% of the 1 million industry job roles are classified as highly skilled (managerial and professional roles) – up from 52% in 2004 – however, 260,000 highly skilled people are expected to leave the sector through retirement and attrition in the next 12 years.To address this gap and improve talent attraction and retention across the financial services industry, the report highlights an urgent need to ensure technological skills – including AI, cyber and sustainability – are developed in combination with interpersonal skills such as empathy and adaptability. The FSSC also calls on senior leaders to commit to skills being integrated into their organisation’s business strategy, and to reskill 16% of colleagues by 2025 to close existing skills proficiency gaps.

Produced by the FSSC and supported by EY and PwC UK, this report is the result of 45 interviews with sector leaders, senior stakeholders, and commentators across financial and professional services including both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The findings outline a series of practical recommendations which aim to mobilise the industry into collective action to create skills-based organisations that can adapt to the tech-driven, people-centred future over the next decade.

Commenting on the report, Claire Tunley CEO, Financial Services Skills Commission said:

Skills are integral to business success and a driver of competitive advantage and growth. Our report outlines how reskilling, upskilling, and a sustained pipeline of talent can unlock productivity, drive innovation, and meet customer demands, boosting our economy, workforce, and wider society. The sector must act now to close skills gaps by reskilling 160,000 people and build sustainable talent pipelines for the long-term.”

Chris Box, Global Workforce Risk Leader, at PwC UK, said:

“Closing the skills gap in the financial services industry isn’t just about meeting immediate needs; it’s about future-proofing our sector. By investing in upskilling and reskilling, we’re not only boosting economic output but also fostering a resilient, adaptable workforce ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”

David Storey, Partner, EY, comments:

“This report is a timely reminder of the scale and strategic importance of the skills challenges facing the UK financial services sector today. To drive real change and close the skills gap, sector-wide collaboration is needed urgently. Key to driving a lasting impact across the industry will be developing technical and human skills in tandem, strengthening female workforce participation, and creating opportunities for older workers to participate in the workforce for longer.”

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