Bosses at financial services firms falling behind on tech know-how

Canary Wharf, home of the UK financial services sectorWith widespread disruption from new and emerging technologies facing companies, the financial services sector is still lacking in both diversity and CEOs with a background in technology, according to recent analysis from recruitment firm,Robert Half UK. According to the results of the annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker, not one of the CEOs leading the FTSE 100’s financial services companies has a background in technology. By contrast, the proportion of CEOs with a background in technology across all sectors has increased by 27 percent over the past year, as the impact of digitisation is felt across multiple industries and sectors.

The survey claims to highlight the importance of traditional skillsets that dominate financial services, with 100 percent of CEOs in the sector possessing a financial background. This compares to 52 percent of CEOs across all sectors. Beyond this, a low proportion of CEOs have experience across multiple sectors; only 4 percent of CEOs have a background in marketing and advertising, while 9 percent have a retail and hospitality background.

The survey also revealed the need for greater diversity within financial services. Out of the current financial services companies in the FTSE 100, there are no female CEOs, and more than a third (35 percent) are Oxbridge educated, compared to one in five (18 percent) across all sectors.

“With digital disruption transforming all sectors, established businesses need to embrace technology if they are to compete with the new wave of tech-enabled start-ups,” said Charlie Grubb, Executive Search Managing Director, Robert Half UK. “Leaders are needing to navigate this increasingly competitive landscape, while also surrounding themselves with the expertise to effectively manage the change within their own company. Within financial services, this could mean re-evaluating the candidate mix to future-proof their business in the future of work.

“While significant progress has been made by the industry as a whole, financial services like other industries are still looking to improve their diversity at the top. Businesses we work with are strengthening their drive for diversity from talent attraction through to shortlisting to ensure they are tapping into a diverse pool of talent. While this won’t change overnight, an ongoing focus on the wider organisation’s talent pipeline will support this shift at the top.”

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