Tag: ESG

These are the most extreme market conditions in living memory

According to Core-Asset Consulting’s “Industry Trends and Salary Guide” there is an enormous shortfall of candidates in Scotland with pressure to significantly increase salaries and perks making grim reading for financial services sector businesses.

Factors causing huge employment gaps in certain sectors are, according to the report, an exodus of international staff due to Brexit, COVID-related career changing and the climate crisis. These have left the industry at an “uncertain crossroads”.

Now in its seventh year, Core-Asset Consulting’s salary guide, a forensic review of salary levels is also a gauge of market sentiment, activity and the themes that are impacting financial services across Scotland.

The guide reports that despite some of the most extreme market conditions in living memory, the Financial Services Asset Management Services industries have remained broadly resilient, with roles such as Business Analysts, Solutions Architects and Regulatory Risk in the highest demand.

However, with vacancies up 52% and applicants down 5% on the previous 12 months, this year’s report has highlighted a burgeoning staffing crisis across multiple sectors caused by the perfect storm of Brexit, increased remote working, the cutting of intern and trainee programmes, and the reluctance of many to relocate for work.

The report found that candidates actively applying for roles was down 35%, while conversely recruiters are having to up the ante to source 57% more candidates than in 2020.

Betsy Williamson, the founder and MD of Core-Asset, said that the latest edition of the annual report, which is eagerly anticipated across the sector, makes alarming reading for its audience.

She commented: “With a predecessor as turbulent as 2020, it was clear that 2021 was going to be another year of unpredictable change within financial services, and the sector is now at an uncertain crossroads with huge hurdles to overcome.

“The reduction in available labour is connected with the UK’s exit from the European Union and the exodus of overseas nationals returning to native soil – with more than 200,000 EU citizens leaving the UK during 2020.”

“Additionally, thousands of workers placed on furlough at the height of the pandemic have since switched careers, leaving massive employment gaps in certain industries, while rising demand across sectors like Fintech and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has been driving salaries to unprecedented levels.”

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Mere 15% of employees believe company’s ESG initiatives are genuine 

New research released by PLAY, a product development studio, has found that 77% of workers would like the company they work for to be more transparent about their environmental impact.  

Climate change is front of mind with the study finding that employees are sceptical about their employer’s sustainability initiatives. Overall, only 14% of those surveyed believed that companies’ sustainability initiatives were ‘always’ impactful or genuine. This number fell to under one in 10 for general employees, compared with over a third (34%) of business leaders. This suggests that business leaders may be over-estimating the impact and value of their existing environmental initiatives for employees.  

PLAY’s report surveyed 1,000 UK-based employees, split between 750 general employees and 250 business leaders/Chief Sustainability Officers, about their views on sustainability initiatives in business.   

Are business leaders disconnected with their employees?  

The report seemingly revealed a disconnect between employees and business leaders where the impact of sustainability initiatives is concerned. However, the study showed a consensus between both groups when it came to how best to support the fight against the climate emergency. Business leaders showed a willingness to support in improving sustainability goals and initiatives, but the research revealed there is a disconnect between their actions and words. While 82% of business leaders say they agree that their organisation should support employees to make sustainable decisions and display sustainable behaviours, only 38% of employees said that their company provides them with the tools and resources to build sustainable habits, and 22% don’t know if those resources are available to them.  

Overall, 77% of respondents agreed that major behaviour changes are necessary to ensure individuals, companies and countries achieve their sustainability goals. This figure was as high as 90% of those in the legal sector, 88% of those working in finance, and 84% of those in IT. Business leaders (85%) were also more likely than CSOs (79%) and employees (75%) to agree, implying that behaviour change is a priority on companies’ radar.  

Marcus Thornley, CEO and founder of PLAY commented: “Our research shows the need for business leaders to take sustainability initiatives seriously. There’s a strong desire from employees to get involved in their company’s sustainability projects, but these initiatives currently lack transparency and credibility. Businesses need to support employees with valuable and measurable sustainability goals and approaches, if not they will continue to see these projects delivering little success.  Business leaders need to change this to keep employees engaged, reimagining their approach to sustainability and implementing more innovative means of behaviour change and measurement supported by technology.”  

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Financial services industry struggling to recruit

According to a whitepaper by global workforce solutions provider AMS, a solid commitment to Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) will aid financial services firms in securing sought-after talent amid skills shortages.

In its latest whitepaper, Why the ‘S’ of ESG may be the rose between two thorns for retail banking, its recommended that employers across the banking and insurance sectors strengthen and promote their social credentials if they are to harness the power of ESG to build their employer brand.

We know that Gen Zs are allocating more importance to social responsibility and want to work at companies that align with their values. It’s therefore becoming increasingly important for businesses put their money where their mouth is and ensure that ESG forms the foundation of the way they do business.

The advice comes following research from the Financial Services Skills Commission, which found that almost a third of employers across the financial, professional and business services sector are struggling to recruit due to widespread skills shortages.

Janine Chidlow Sector Managing Director of Retail Banking & Insurance at AMS commented: “At a time when acute skills shortages are impacting access to talent, both jobseekers and existing employees increasingly want to find a purpose in life and are seeking out employers that share their values. That might be a commitment to sustainability, philanthropy, or social impact. Against this backdrop, the ESG framework unsurprisingly has an impact on talent attraction and retention within financial services.

“Candidates may not be seeking an ethical employer in the traditional sense any more – now they’re looking at the social perception of an employer brand and what they are committed to in terms of achieving carbon neutral status or supporting social mobility and diversity. The war for talent is now raging once again, and those businesses that are not demonstrating flexibility, care, innovative thinking, and evidence that people matter will lose very quickly. For talent strategists, a commitment to ESG is not just a vote winner for hiring great people: it’s a brilliant tool in your sales armoury too.”

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