Fintech and the future of jobs in finance

Crypto forecasters. Self-driving finance engineers. Digital ambassadors.

These are some of the enticing new jobs riding the fintech wave. But, as Rebecca explains, while the technology boom ushers in new possibilities, it also spells the end for many traditional (and transactional) jobs in finance.

Will new opportunities balance out the jobs lost to automation?

Yes, says Rebecca. While finance jobs that were traditionally labour-intensive are being increasingly automated or outsourced, they will be offset by other roles.

“We saw this in finance two decades ago when the sale and trading of stocks was disrupted by automated trading.

“The loss in trader jobs was offset by a boom in computer engineers who built and ran those automated trading programs,” Rebecca explains.

People will undoubtedly have to reskill:

“The transactional parts of people’s roles are being automated, which
leaves former bank tellers, for example, to concentrate on the human side of
their workload. I’d expect to see many of these jobs consolidated into a
relationship-manager role.”

Rebecca Smith, PwC

How fintech start-ups are challenging traditional banks.

The trend that stands out for Rebecca is the transition away from traditional financial service providers.

“Customers are really open to having financial solutions provided by non-banks. Even supermarkets are offering credit cards now. Fintech has really lowered the barriers to entry for start-ups and tech companies that focus on gaps in the financial services market,” she says.

What does this mean in terms of jobs?

A fintech start-up boom translates to increased job numbers in the start-up space, leading to a talent shortage for traditional institutions like the big banks. But Rebecca warns that even the start-ups are facing a talent shortage in terms of people with deep financial expertise.

“Start-up founders tend to have great tech skills and a knowledge of how to make data work for them, but they need people who really understand how finance – asset management, financial markets and so on – actually works.”

Rebecca Smith, PwC

Why is human touch still required?

Rebecca notes that while there’s been a rise in customer-facing automation and AI, this does not mean a human element is no longer needed.

“Fintech is driving improvements in customer experience, lowering the costs of providing new solutions, and sharpening efficiencies. Amazing tech solutions appearing today include investment managers deploying customised robo-advice and insurers using sensors to monitor people’s health,” she says.

“But there’s still a connection between the human and the digital. Yes, people want their advisor to be enabled by data, analytics, and predictive modelling, but they also want to have a conversation with a human when negotiating a mortgage. They want that reassurance.”

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Other trends influencing jobs in finance.

Fintech isn’t the only factor driving a transformation of jobs in the finance sector. According to Rebecca, other disruptors include:

  • Increased risk and regulatory attention, particularly since the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry in Australia. This has led to an increase in regulatory and compliance-related roles, along with the emergence of a key new role: that of “trust officer”.
  • rapid transition to a cashless society due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • The accelerated rise of the virtual workforce also driven by COVID-19 has provided an unexpected solution to the finance talent shortage by vastly widening the talent pool.
  • A higher level of investment in culture as large institutions attempt to attract talent back from start-ups, which are generally known for having a more desirable workplace culture.

What exciting new roles will be created?

To understand what roles might emerge in the future, the key is to look at trends today and connect those to future jobs. For example, there is already an upwards tick in the recruitment of data scientists, data analysts, and UX experts, says Rebecca.

“There are also some roles with great new job titles. The finance sector will need crypto forecasters as we build more trust in technology and digital currency and move away from cash.

“Super forecasting will be another hot new skill – finance professionals who can analyse past and future events to help navigate the market. Self-driving finance engineers will build AI that automates financial advice such as telling people the best time to refinance their mortgage or loans,” finishes Rebecca.

Other emerging roles will include:

  • Algorithm designers to build programs that meet both the organisational and customer needs.
  • Data translators who can articulate what the data means and how it can be used.
  • Fintech advisors to help lagging institutions keep up with the fast-moving fintech landscape.

Existing finance roles that are predicted to boom.

“Essentially, tech and data skills will be sought-after as consumers become increasingly comfortable with fintech,” says Rebecca.

“There’s so much information out there, and financial services providers will be searching for people with the right skills to optimise that data.

“Two years ago, NAB had a small team of seven cloud engineers – now they have 1,300. Similarly, ING has built a team of 29 customer journey experts whose job it is to translate UX (user experience) for engineers,” she finishes.

Rebecca also predicts a jobs boom for:

So, how can you future-proof your career in finance?

Rebecca’s number-one piece of advice for finance professionals looking to future-proof their careers is to embrace and understand technology.

“It’s critical to find ways to boost your digital IQ. You need to get comfortable with new and emerging tech – it’s not just about technical skills. You need to have a lifelong learning mindset, alongside human skills like resilience, creativity, innovation and empathy.”

Rebecca Smith, PwC

“Fintech’s biggest impact will be on people; which is why we need to proactively invest in our digital IQ,” she finishes.

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