NFU Blog

Skills and competences: the key for a prospering and secure finance sector

Sustainable finance and digitalisation have been dominating the finance sector for the last decade and will continue to shape the future of finance. In the middle of this transformation stand finance employees entrusted with a great responsibility to guide customers towards sustainable investments and services, and implementing digital tools in an ethic and sustainable way. Are we at a point where employers and trade unions come to the table with different solutions to completely different problems?

A few weeks ago, I attended the European social dialogue for the insurance sector in Brussels. On the agenda was a presentation from the employer’s representatives on “The lack of IT and tech skills in Insurance – a case study from German insurance sector”. The message was clear, the sector is in enormous need to attract talent in tech and IT to be able to stay attractive and competitive. The presentation also focused on the different needs that this group of, often young, employees might have compared to other groups of employees and how to best attract them. To attract talent is of course important, however, it does only capture one half of the story of skills and talent.

The discussion on skills, talent and competences is twofold. First, yes, the sector is in a great need for new skills and talent. There is a need for both completely new skills in the sector, but also that young employees entering the sector can bring new perspectives to challenging issues connected to the digital development of financial services and to meet new needs connected to sustainable finance. Second and maybe most important, there is a large need for upskilling and reskilling among current finance employees to be able to give advice and service for a green and sustainable economy, as well as to keep up with the pace in the digital transition of the sector.

Nordic finance trade unions are strongly advocating for life-long learning and for its members to receive adequate training to up- and reskill. Sometimes trade unions themselves are the ones that carry out the trainings. It is of course great to address missing skills and competences. However, it is and always should be the responsibility of the employers to make sure that the employees get competence development and have the right skills for their tasks, now and in the future. The employers must understand the value of investing in employees. The employees’ skills are essential for companies to stay competitive.

We must not end up in a situation where employers and trade unions come to the table with different solutions to completely different problems. Yes, there is a need for new talent in finance. Yes, there is a great need for upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce. But we all need to keep two thoughts in our head at the same time to achieve the best possible future. It is inspiring to see that skills and competences are high also on the political agenda. The European Commission has targeted 2023 to be “the European year of skills”.

We as representatives of the employees will continue to stress the need for upskilling, reskilling, and life-long learning. With the right skills to carry out their work – today, tomorrow and in the future – finance employees can continue to be key levers for a prospering and resilient finance sector.

Simon Jernberg
Policy Advisor, NFU

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