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55 (150) 2022

Finance

Finance in the new digital world

By Michał Opioła, senior director, member of the management board, Michael Page Poland
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The demand for financial department specialists remains high in virtually every area of the market – in particular in SSC/BPO, e-commerce, and real estate. Currently, the recruitment efforts of companies are largely the result of the progressive digitalisation of various sectors of the economy. This digital transformation has also changed the profile of the most sought-after job candidates in the banking sector. Those who are most widely in demand are employees who can combine specialist knowledge of both finance and IT, including business intelligence analysts. How are the employment prospects and wages of finance specialists likely to develop in the coming months?

Business service growth is affecting the demand for finance experts
Currently, the financial labour market is extremely absorbent. The demand for specialist positions is very high – especially in real estate, e-commerce, and shared service centres. It is in the last sector that the largest growth can be seen. Poland is a leading location for business services. In 2021, it recorded a record inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI), which made it the eighth country in the world in terms of investment in new projects, according to a report by ABSL. Our country has an established position as an attractive region for investors. This is due to its optimal location, lower operating costs than those in Western Europe, and well-educated and experienced staff. These days, we are witnessing not only a major growth of employment in the sector, but also an increase in the level of complexity of the processes performed at the SSC/BPO centres that operate in Poland. In 2022, the recruitment volume for highly qualified positions keeps rising, in particular in such areas as finance, accounting, HR operations, IT, and customer service. That a slowdown in recruitment in this sector is unlikely is also evidenced by the number of transition processes, often planned for several years ahead.

The changing profile of the most wanted candidates in the banking sector
Over the last five years, mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations have dominated Poland’s banking sector. Naturally, this has translated into a reduction in employment in this industry. At the same time, in recent years, we have witnessed a wave of progressive technological change, coupled with a change in the nature of services provided due to the pandemic, and the need to adjust operating models to customer expectations. Currently, banks focus primarily on digitalisation, as they keep increasing the number of services available on digital channels. In a Deloitte survey carried out at the end of 2021, a third of respondents said that they were using digital banking services much more often than before the outbreak of the pandemic. Therefore, employers in this sector are looking for candidates with a different profile than a few years ago. The ones who can count on the largest number of job offers are those who combine relevant competencies in project management, digital, business intelligence, and IT. There is also a high demand for accomplished specialists in such fields as process automation, machine learning, financial analysis, and product management.

The insurance sector: a shift towards digitalisation
The insurance industry is also keeping up with the digital transformation. Companies in this sector are putting more and more of their efforts into building and optimising remote sales channels, and customer service. The demand for effective and experienced brokers, underwriters, and actuaries, as well as product managers, still shows no sign of slowing down.

Digitalisation: the future of finance
The accelerated digitalisation of business has forced employers to look for candidates with new and often specific technological competencies. The financial market is currently in the middle of mass-scale recruitment of people who are able to combine knowledge of finance with IT skills, including business intelligence analysts. Along with technological advances, the demand for cybersecurity specialists is also going up. Experts in cloud technologies and big data cannot complain of a lack of offers. One of the major technological trends in the financial industry is the increasingly widespread use of the considerable potential of artificial-intelligence solutions. Machine learning is widely applied, for example, when making credit decisions, or managing market risk. This means that organisations are also looking for specialists with extensive experience in this area.

Who else can count on excellent job prospects?
Currently, employers are equally looking for experts in risk modelling or validation, as well as for compliance and anti-money-laundering specialists. Accountants and accounting specialists are another professional group that seems to enjoy an abundance of choice when it comes to job offers. The high demand for these people is related to recent changes in tax regulations.

What next?
According to data from July 2022, issued by the Polish Office for National Statistics (GUS), average employment in the enterprise sector was higher by 2.3% compared to the previous year and stood at 6,508,300 full-time jobs. Meanwhile, the average salary in this sector in July, seen from a year-on-year perspective, rose by 15.8% to 6,779 złotys gross. This is significantly higher than anticipated in previous forecasts.

From the perspective of Michael Page, the number of recruitment projects we run remains stable, and at the highest level in many years. In July we saw a 10% increase in projects acquired compared to January 2022 – and these are months affected by annual leave. Specialists and experts are still in demand. Currently, there are considerably fewer job offers for managers and directors, who, interestingly, in Poland do not constitute such a large professional group. Highly qualified leaders with appropriate soft skills are still very much wanted. In an ever-changing world, effective team management is extremely important. Every year, there is a growing volume of recruitment processes for top management positions.

Inflation and the increased cost of living that it has brought about, coupled with insufficient labour supply, translate into higher wage requirements for candidates. In the financial industry, employees in specialist, expert, and managerial positions can expect the highest increases in wages. Until recently, their earnings were five to six times lower than the salaries of directors, while nowadays they are close to being three to four times lower.

The finance sector holds tight as one the best-paid and most propitious areas in the Polish labour market. Experienced specialists who are able to combine knowledge in finance with technological skills can count on the most attractive job offers and the highest wages.

 

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