The COVID-19 pandemic injected uncertainty into the future of work. Now, as restrictions begin to lift two years later, there is still no cohesive vision of how the world is going to look from industry to industry. These three trends influence how the financial services industry does business today and how it will continue to do so in the future.
1. Hybrid and Remote Work
Pre-pandemic, the financial services industry very rarely allowed employees to work from home. The industry culture meant that you must be seen in the office to get work done securely and to cultivate the relationships necessary to move forward in your career. That is not the case today. In Owl Lab’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the financial services industry had the third-highest number of remote workers at 9%, ranking behind only healthcare (15%) and technology/internet (10%). “A majority of employees want the ability to work remotely but do not want it to be their only option. These top sectors include healthcare and finance,” says Graham Beck, co-founder & CEO at DropDesk. “A hybrid model would allow employers to reduce space costs and employees to choose what environment makes them most productive.”
2. Digitization of Services
The financial services industry was well on its way to digitizing its services, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the timing. There is more customer demand for online and digital financial services than ever before. “The widespread adaptation of remote services by finance companies to their customers during COVID-19 is anticipated to reduce the time needed for financial institutions to avoid reverting to their previous marketing strategies,” says Elena Jones, founder of Finance Jar. “As a result, there will be a strong emphasis on developing corporate strategies centered on the thorough digitalization of their offerings.”
3. Competition with Fintech
Christopher Sioco, founder and chief operations officer at Tax Robot, says the financial industry currently faces challenges in delivering unified customer experiences and staying competitive with the rise of fintech. Although it seems that more and more fintech companies open every day, financial services have an advantage—the latest technologies that help them digitally meet customer needs. Ultimately, investment in digitization and technology is the key that will allow the financial services industry to triumph over fintech. “As customers are looking more towards an integrated experience for their banking needs, financial companies need to improvise on their digital experiences and online banking to keep up with growing customer expectations,” Sioco says. “They will have the advantage of uniquely approaching the major societal issues and the new markets without making a major trade-off in the growth or profits of their business.”
Planning for the Future
As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches an endemic stage, there is still some uncertainty about what the future of work in the financial services industry will ultimately look like. These three trends, however, indicate that customers and employees play a key role in making a workplace viable. That’s why the financial services industry needs to satisfy the needs of both to remain competitive and truly build the ideal workplaces of tomorrow.