Finance calls for new UK body to boost recruitment

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Britain needs a new body dedicated to filling skill shortages in financial services as tech lures away talent and Brexit increases uncertainty, a government-commissioned report said on Tuesday.

The review, commissioned by the UK finance ministry, said Britain will lose out to rival financial centres and other economic sectors unless collective action is taken to create a more skilled and diverse workforce.

Restoring public trust in finance was also critical to attracting skilled staff, the report said.

“While there are many examples of good practice, the industry lacks the overarching vision, coordination and focus needed to weather the megatrends transforming global business,” said Mark Hoban, chair of a task force that authored the report.

An employer-funded and managed Financial Services Skills Commission could lead “real change at scale”, it said.

It would identify what skills were needed and the framework to increase training for new and existing employees, and “champion the sector as a great place to work”.

The report found that financial services has a growing skills gap, up 30% between 2015 and 2017, and only a third of senior managers are women.

Around nine out of 10 financial services workers are white, failing to reflect the mix of people in urban centres where many people who work in the sector are based, the report said.

The financial sector is facing fundamental changes like automation eliminating clerical and administration jobs.

Demand for specialist skills in data and tech is growing in a sector that has a high reliance on imported talent, with over 12% of Britain’s banking and finance workforce from the EU.

The unfettered ability to hire talent from the EU will end after Brexit.

“In the short term, changes to our ability to access overseas talent, as a result of Brexit, will present an additional challenge as investment in our domestic talent will take time to manifest,” the report said.

Reporting by Huw Jones