After all, their knowledge and skills will be vital to supporting our industry and our island in the future. We are proud to say that more than 3000 young islanders have chosen to set out on a career in finance over the last decade, and we hope to see this number continue to rise.
At our ‘Global Horizons’ event last month, I spoke about the importance of supporting the skills base here on the island in order to see our sector continue to thrive.
It’s a key strategic focus for us this year. Against the backdrop of significant and rapid change, driven by regulatory shifts, heightened scrutiny around governance and oversight, greater focus on purpose, and digital disruption, we need to act now in order to offer the best possible support to young people starting out in their finance careers.
Evolving skillsets to nurture a sustainable local workforce is a widespread issue, not just one reserved for financial services. It’s noteworthy that only recently the Jersey Chamber of Commerce undertaking a skills survey exercise amongst local businesses.
Neither is it unique to Jersey – a survey from the Financial Services Skills Commission last year found that a third of finance businesses in the UK were experiencing skills shortages when it comes to filling vacancies.
To that end, we are focused on working with schools and training bodies over 2022 to bolster the skillsets on offer, and we are working with employers too, to identify which gaps there might be and how we can address them.
We are committed to encouraging young people to consider a career in the finance industry in order to grow local talent. We have seen success in this endeavour through initiatives such as Future Connect, which offers networking and development opportunities to those starting out their careers in the finance sector, and Life in Finance, which pairs A-Level students with financial services businesses on the Island.
Future Connect members can also take part in our mentoring scheme which matches those in junior roles with senior professionals who are able to offer advice on career progression.
We are also promoting the development of young talent in the island with the third annual ‘Rising Stars’ awards. These awards celebrate young professionals who are having a real impact in their workplace, and who will undoubtedly be industry leaders in years to come. Last year, more than 150 people aged between 16 and 30 were nominated and over 38,000 votes were cast across 12 categories and we are delighted that this year we have added two further categories that focus on diversity and inclusion, and sustainability.
Highlighting the achievements of early-career professionals through initiatives like this allows us to remain future-focused and understand the value that these young people are bringing to our industry.
Of course, the questions of upskilling and development do not only apply to young people. We also want to support those wishing to switch careers and those who may have taken a career break but now wish to return to work.
With the world having shifted so dramatically over the past two years, the demand has increased significantly for individuals to be confident in the digital and technological arenas, whether they be school leavers joining the workplace for the first time, or more established professionals. Increasing digitalisation has changed the nature of work for entire industry as well as individual companies, making digital skills a key attribute for the modern workforce. It is pleasing to see the Digital Degree Apprenticeship qualification commencing in September 2022, which the Government of Jersey hopes will be of strong interest to local employers looking to meet the increasing need for digital skills in this vital area.
According to a survey we undertook last year amongst our own Members, the skills most business leaders predicted needing to recruit in the coming years included oral and written communication skills (88% and 86% ), numeracy (78%), work readiness such as problem solving, teamwork and resilience (74%), analytical skills (74%) and basic digital skills (74%).
Indeed, looking more closely at digital skills, the survey responses indicated that businesses anticipate requiring individuals competent in Data Analytics, Cyber Security and Applications Development over the coming years. Only 17% of respondents thought that these skills were readily available in Jersey, demonstrating a need to prioritise development and training in these areas on the island.
Another takeaway from the results was the prediction of a growing number of jobs at varying levels of experience, with the majority of these roles (87%) expected to be filled from the island’s population. That being the case, it is imperative that the training opportunities are in place and readily accessible to allow our local talent to excel within these future roles.
We recognise that our people are our most valuable differentiator as an industry. We have just celebrated our 60th anniversary as an international finance centre (IFC) and our success today has been due to the expertise, experience and relationships we have built up collectively over those six decades.
By listening to our industry today and keeping an eye on the future, we can ensure that we are supporting those who are ready and keen to learn new skills, turning our talent pool into an opportunity, and prioritising the long-term sustainability of Jersey as an IFC.