As the BFSI sector prepares to generate a host of employment opportunities, a thorough recce into reskilling seems to be the need of the hour.
In the aftermath of the pandemic that has taken the economy through turbulence, it is the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector that has thrown up gaps that need cementing. It is the sector that drives the economy, now driven by technological advancements like artificial intelligence and automated solutions. As the sector prepares to generate a host of employment opportunities, a thorough recce into reskilling seems to be the need of the hour.
With a ready pool of graduates that India throws into the mix every year, skill goes for a toss as labour gets picked at low prices. Why is that dangerous? The BFSI sector is touted to roll out jobs for another 1.6 million workers by 2022. Of them, about 50 percent will need reskilling.
What is the need now?
What India lacks is the correct amalgamation of manpower in different departments and skilled representatives in all forms of banking. The finance sector, treasury, and human resources departments need upskilling, with most freshers still learning on the job or people from diverse streams coming into this sector after a possible career change, confidently banking on their grit to learn what is needed.
When we look at banks, the first requirement is people qualified enough to understand the role of banking in the Indian economic scenario, with brilliant marketing skills and sales effectiveness. In the finance sector, there is a clear lack of understanding when it comes to schemes and laws. For insurance, marketing strategies are a must.
Skills that are up for grabs
If you are looking to get into this sector, the first thing you should be equipped with is the latest toolbox in fintech and a few essential skills. This includes digital banking, blockchain storage for security, artificial intelligence for automated communication, and an advanced grievance redressal system.
Grasping the ever-changing sector
While most BFSI companies hire commerce or engineering graduates, making them the favourites, the reality is in dire straits. The Employability Survey 2019 says most engineers find it difficult to adapt to changing knowledge patterns. Coding, an important skill, is only possessed by about 4.6 percent of applicants. The new technological advancements are a hard-to-grasp factor for many. In the banking sector, technology is the only solution now. India, sadly, is still grappling with a fine-combed knowledge about digital tenets.
The India Skills Report 2020 has identified Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh as the states generating the highest number of skilled and employable youth to meet the financial needs of the decade. That is not a big skill pool.
The need for communication
The sector needs people who are great communicators, have excellent social skills, and are master negotiators. A thorough idea about schemes and laws is great, but communication skills are important to keep customer relations intact. Because language is a barrier in most cases, the workforce needs to be comfortable in the professional use of English, a language spoken by only 10 percent of the country. A bonus is a working knowledge of the local language in any state where one is employed.
Reskilling at a slow rate is not bright news
India is experiencing a tech boom, and it has made the need to reskill people ‘Plan B’ on recruiters’ minds. Most are looking at automated solutions to attract fast results. Taking recruits through the process is haphazard, and the onus falls on them to learn things themselves to cope with the race. This trend is clearly visible in a 2019 survey by Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace, where a little less than half the recruiters approached showed more interest in investing in AI, cloud-based infra, the Internet of Things and digital marketing. Here is the gap that slowly widens between understanding and application of skill.
The future in technology means the country will need a specialised pool to drive UX designs, AI, cybersecurity, and data analytics. There will always be the need for training exercises, and companies need to step up. Automation in the banking sector will bid goodbye to traditional jobs, and people with skills to interact and address customer grievances will take the cake.
What can companies do?
The solution is simple—companies need to collaborate with institutes to upskill people. Creating equal opportunities for both men and women, even returning moms, widens the skill pool significantly.
Training institutes can update the curriculum as per the industry’s requirements and keep students informed about the latest practices revolutionising the industry.
The government needs to upgrade its advertisements for labour policies and schemes. It needs to restructure skilling initiatives to make training education effective. It can incentivise corporates to come up with more training techniques to generate employment.
Reskilling and upskilling: The new normal
In the post-COVID scenario, the world is rapidly transitioning into a global digital workbox. All the conventional working methods used thus far need to be revisited and reoriented to this new workbox. In order to meet with this ever-changing need, there needs to be a massive drive among the young workforce for reskilling and upskilling.
—Robin Bhowmik is Chief Business Officer of Manipal Global Academy of BFSI. Views are personal
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)