The ‘Great Reset’ and the changing workforce

The role of new technologies and other innovations in reimagining the post-pandemic workplace is a topic worth exploring in detail.

We at Confirmation recently published a white paper analysing the global financial workforce in the context of the Great Reset. To gather first-hand evidence from employers’ perspectives, we polled 200 financial tech, risk and operations decision-makers worldwide including Deutsche Bank, NatWest, Bank of New Zealand and RBC.

Recruitment and resourcing
We began with recruitment. When asked whether their team size had changed, a third of respondents said it had stayed the same, two-thirds that it had grown, and only one per cent said it had shrunk – clearly, the majority of firms in our survey have been actively hiring new staff.

In doing so, they have benefited from the transformation of the entire resourcing function. It is more advanced, we were told, and heavily backed by technology. This reduces the number of steps involved, while online tools such as virtual assistants make the process faster and more efficient.

Online tech has also extended the reach of resourcing. Reflecting on the changes accelerated by the pandemic, Gartner’s Lauren Smith explained that companies are “no longer tied by proximity”. They can source talent and skills, and interview and employ individuals, anywhere in the world.

Remote working will continue to be central to our respondents’ talent strategy, both in attracting and retaining new hires. This was evident when we asked about the changing workplace. Many organisations (40 per cent) expect the hybrid workforce model to remain the most popular choice, with 32 per cent choosing the virtual model and only 28 per cent preferring the in-person office.

The hybrid model enables employers and staff to agree on a more productive work-life balance. Given concerns about the Great Resignation and quiet quitting, firms are eager to develop a more positive workplace culture that will secure the best talent, particularly in fields like IT, compliance and legal, which lend themselves to flexible working.

Operational resilience
When it comes to strengthening their operational resilience, companies are focusing on new risk and compliance modules and policies, together with investments in digitisation and process automation.

One decision-maker in our survey spoke of “automating and reconfiguring risk and control with digital upgrades”, while two-thirds of organisations are planning system upgrades, and over half will focus on improving risk and control.

We also looked beyond tech to ask which skills are most valued across the business. The companies we surveyed were near-unanimous – 92 percent chose front office skills, only eight percent the middle or back office.

Relationship management skills
With the growing automation of routine administrative functions, front office deal-making and client management have become key concerns for all the organisations in our poll. They agree that people who can generate new business and successfully manage client relationships will be much sought after in an uncertain future.

Peter Barnes, general operations manager at Bank of New Zealand, told us that customers still want to speak with humans despite advances in technology – “we must maintain our relationship management skillset”. Another respondent said that building customer relationships is “that one top skill”.

NatWest’s Brendan Murtagh predicts that customer service skills are going to be the most in demand. “AI is not quite at the stage to do complex and ambiguous tasks,” he explained, “so people who can engage with customers are important”.

Most respondents are therefore directing AI at risks like fraud and money laundering, while drawing on their people skills to connect with frontline clients.

Look out for two more blogs exploring The Great Reset white paper – on future technologies and building client partnerships – coming soon from Confirmation at