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Blog, by Claire Tunley, Chief Executive, Financial Services Skills Commission

21 August 2023

One in eight job roles across financial services is now technology centric, double the proportion compared to the wider economy. Yet, demand for these future skills is approximately 20% short of supply, across the sector and despite firms increasing their focus on skills forecasting, reskilling, and upskilling programmes, skills gaps continue to widen.

These findings, outlined in our latest report, ‘Reskilling Everywhere All at Once,’ also placed a spotlight on Coaching – a behaviour reported by our members as being most in demand and prioritised for investment. Closely followed by adaptability, relationship management and critical thinking. For the first time, we are starting to see firms embed coaching cultures to equip managers to meet staff expectations around growth and development. 60% of Financial Services Skills Commission members have reported an increase in demand for coaching skills in 2022, recognising the need for good leadership and self-management skills, with many investing in programmes to train as many employees as possible with coaching skills.  This is a decisive shift, towards embedding a coaching culture throughout their organisation.

We know the demand for coaching has grown since the pandemic, which revealed the extent to which managers (departmental or line) are critical to the pastoral care and development of their teams. As a result, changes to performance assessments now require many managers to demonstrate coaching skills. As a CEO of a small organisation, I use coaching skills daily to support my team to develop their professional objectives as well as foster self-confidence and self-awareness, which in turn creates a more inclusive and productive working culture.

Danske Bank, a Commission member, is building a coaching culture throughout its workforce, with a focus on using coaching as an adaptive leadership tool for its 250 people leaders. The bank has also introduced a “You Coach You” intervention, ensuring coaching is increasingly accessible for employees across the business.

CoachHub, a digital training provider, reports nine out of ten firms are planning to increase their use of coaching next year, illustrating the essential relevance of this skill. Coaching can also be particularly valuable in the context of upskilling and reskilling, where belief in potential and motivation make all the difference.

Firms are using a variety of approaches to develop and embed future skills and behaviours within their organisations, be it through apprenticeships and internal academies or via upskilling and reskilling programmes. Investment in reskilling is having a positive impact, but more work is needed. This is why our report calls on UK business leaders to prioritise reskilling programmes to boost innovation, productivity, and competitiveness across the financial services industry.

Our report comes at a pivotal time for our sector, as we face acute shortages in the labour market coupled with an increasing skills gap. Our work shows that developing talent is vital if the sector is to remain competitive on the global stage. The need to ensure our workforce is equipped with critical skills and behaviours has never been so urgent.

  1. CoachHub, Business Trends in Coaching 2023