Career Advice Job Market Report

Setting new standards: Training demand in banking is rising and HKIB is responding

Carrie Leung, CEO of the HKIB, has long advocated for the banking industry to place the highest priority on training. To maintain professional standards and sustain growth, Leung believes the breadth and depth of practitioners’ skill sets within the industry need to be consistently enhanced.

What’s more, in a rapidly changing commercial environment, shaped by digital innovation, regulatory modifications and shifting customer preferences, many of the skills needed tomorrow will not be the same as those needed in the past. However, the question of consistency in the training provided and in its assessment also needs to be addressed.

“There is now the need for a common qualification benchmark,” Leung says. “There is a need to align a set of competency standards that banking professionals should strive to meet in order to thrive in today’s dynamic banking environment. Requirements are becoming more complex and the HKIB has a crucial role in developing the products for a sustainable industry.”

To gather the information required to help achieve these goals, the HKIB’s latest Talent Development Survey canvassed opinions both within and outside the banking industry. Among the survey’s key findings, around 80 per cent of banking employees say they support the streamlining of the training path and agree that a common qualification benchmark will help to raise their professional status. Ninety-four per cent of the respondents found it difficult to evaluate a professional qualification because they think there have been too many qualifications in the market and a standardised qualification scheme is lacking.

The survey also found that 55 per cent of respondents see fintech as an opportunity for the banking and financial services industry. Senior practitioners and respondents at management level are more positive compared to their less experienced and junior peers. But 15 per cent of the practitioners surveyed regard fintech as a threat to the industry and almost half of them are at officer level or work in a customer-facing role.

“We are delighted to see practitioners are generally embracing the emergence of fintech,” Leung says. “This is not just about sitting and waiting, but in fact requires the transfer of skills and knowledge from top to bottom. The existing fear about fintech among the junior and less experienced practitioners is noteworthy. Employers are advised to address the related training needs to better equip their staff with the necessary expertise to turn fear into opportunity.”