Upskilling Revolutionising The Fintech Space

Robin Bhowmik, Chief Business Officer, Manipal Global Academy Of BFSIRobin has over two decades of experience handling key responsibilities across industries with companies such as Oracle, HP, CSC, and Sify Technologies, to name a few.

The age of the customer is upon us, well and truly. Companies across the globe are undergoing enterprise wide digital transformation exercises to ensure that they are equipped with the latest technologies to offer a superior experience to the customer. The Banking, Financial Services and Insurance(BFSI) sector is no exception. In fact, it will see the highest impact of digitisation, apart from IT, according to an EY-FICCI-NASSCOM report on the future of jobs.

The FinTech disruption
FinTech, a term used to define financial technologies, has disrupted the BFSI sector in the recent past. An increasing number of banks and FIs are tying-up with FinTech firms to provide efficient banking and financial services to their digital first customer base. India has the leading fintech adoption rate in emerging markets, along with China, at 87 percent, according to EY’s Global FinTech Adoption Index 2019. According to a 2018 PwC-ASSOCHAM report, India has seen the emergence of nearly 2,000 FinTech companies between the beginning of 2013 and October 2018.

Drivers of FinTech adoption in India
One of the key drivers of FinTech adoption in India is the changing demographics, according to Statista (2019), the median age of the Indian consumer will be 28.4 years in 2020. In their bid to cater to the burgeoning generation of millennials and GenZers, banks and financial institutions have had to offer products/services and provide platforms catering to this demographic. Millennials use multiple channels and devices and are 24x7 online.They are comfortable with digital assistants & chatbots, and prefer self-service to calling human agents. The BFSI sector is responding with tech empowered customer experience strategies that cater to these millennial attitudes.

The other drivers of the FinTech boom in India is the slew of government policies and frameworks aimed at driving financial inclusion, including but not limited to Aadhar, digital payments platforms, and Jan DhanYojana. Internet and smartphone penetration have also contributed to the boom. Smartphone users in the country are expected to increase two fold to 859 million, come 2022, according to a report.

Is your workforce future ready?
Thanks to FinTech, banks and FIs will see a shift from being merely tech enabled to tech integrated. A tech integrated system will see across the board seamless adoption of emerging technologies, rather than technology being merely an enabler.
However, any digital transformation is incomplete without also transforming the workforce. Ensuring the workforce is future-ready is very important because the FinTech space is in a constant state of flux, with new technologies being adopted every day. Automation, machine learning, AI, blockchain, robotic process automation(RPA), Big Data and IoT have all begun to change the contours of how goods and services are designed and delivered. This means many operational and customer facing roles are on their way out. At the same time, the rise of AI-powered chatbots and digital assistants in Indian banking is also allowing financial institutions to divert their energies towards innovation and customer acquisition.

Agile workspaces encourage learning and collaboration, and this is a constant rather than a time bound exercise

According to a 2018 World Economic Forum report on ‘The Future of Jobs’, by 2022, 62 percent of an organisation’s information and data processing and information search and transmission tasks will be performed by machines compared to 46 percent today. According to the EY-FICCI-NASSCOM report on the future of jobs, 70-75 percent of jobs in the banking and insurance sector in India would need new skill sets by 2022. The report lists out new job roles such as cybersecurity specialist, blockchain architect, and robot programmer, among others. Accordingly, threatened jobs in the BFSI sector include underwriter, teller, cashier, data entry operator and data verification personnel.

These statistics are enough proof to show that the future is one where the frontiers of human-machine collaborations will be pushed.

Enter Upskilling
The FinTech disruption ushers in the need for upskilling (upgrading current skill sets of the workforce in a related role) or reskilling (training employees in new skills required for a completely new role). Banks and financial institutions are already in the process of doing so, in order to serve the new age digital customer seamlessly. Nearly 74 percent of firms surveyed in the EY-FICCI-NASSCOM report are in the process of reskilling current employees.

The WEF report cited earlier also forecasts that by 2022, 54 percent of all employees will need ‘significant re and upskilling’. The report adds that about 35 percent may need extra training of up to six months. It lists-out analytical thinking and innovation, apart from active learning and learning strategies as skills that will gain prominence by 2022.

A 2017 IBM report titled ‘Upskilling India’ notes that 70 percent of venture capitalists it surveyed said startups were unable to find employees with the right skills. This is an indication of a talent/ skills gap in the country, calling for upskilling measures from the government, educational institutions and industry.

What does upskilling entail?
The workforce of the future, irrespective of the industry, will be an agile one. Agile workspaces are flat structures, where there are no hierarchies. There are no silos, and there’s democratisation of information. Agile workspaces encourage learning and collaboration, and this is a constant rather than a time-bound exercise. Such spaces are also tech integrated, and the workforce is diverse. These workplaces of the future will have employees who are creative thinkers, and have a high emotional quotient(EQ). Softskills will be valued and sought after. Also, the employees of the future have the capacity to adapt in realtime to introduction of emerging technologies. The FinTech workspace of the future would need an agile workforce, considering the number of disruptions it will continue to see.

In conclusion
The total transaction value of the FinTech market in India is estimated to grow from $66.1 billion in 2019 to $137.8 billion in 2023. Considering the huge potential of this market, upskilling is no longer a luxury but a necessity. All stakeholders, including employees themselves, need to focus on being prepared for a future where new skills and job profiles will take over.