Resurgence of hiring trends in the BFSI sector

The Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector has been one of the biggest contributors to the ongoing economic recovery. Over the past year and a half, it rapidly adopted technology and has transformed itself to adapt to the new normal. The recovery in the sector, coupled with demands of the new digital environment, have led to a strong resurgence in hiring trends across verticals in BFSI companies and their support system.

To deep dive into the opportunities presented by the dynamic BFSI sector in the wake of the overhaul it has undergone and explore how job seekers can position themselves, Forbes India, powered by Indeed, presented Indeed Jobs of the Next Decade in association with CNBCTV18. This virtual workshop featured two back-to-back sessions on the ‘Future of Jobs in the BFSI sector’ and ‘Crafting BFSI Careers in a Digital India’.

Panellists for the first discussion comprised a host of domain luminaries, including Sukhpreet Singh, HR Head, Maybright Ventures (mPokket); Rajita Singh, HR Head, Broadridge; Tarun Katyal, CHRO, Niva Bupa; Himanshu Mishra, Sr VP – HR, Axis Bank; Arun Krishnamurthy, Director & Head of HR, Barclays India and Sashi Kumar, Indeed India.

To offer a bird’s eye view on the key hiring trends and job prospects in the sector, Sashi Kumar said, “Most companies in BFSI seek a seamless customer experience. This has led to high demand for tech roles as well as more conventional roles too. There has been an increase in hiring in UI/UX developers, application developers, AI/ML engineers, cyber security professionals, and even financial analysts"

Arun Krishnamurthy described how his bank has been rapidly evolving in the digital space. “We have been making investments in consumer banking stacks, cyber security and next generation CRM technologies like Big Data and Analytics to leverage scale and opportunities.”

With the ‘touch and feel’ banking experience being replaced by a largely online presence, Himanshu Mishra opined, “Physical branches will continue to exist and flourish but their nature, format and objective will change and evolve. Service requests and the like will move backend with increased digitalisation and branches will become centres where customers can walk in and talk about their financial plans with bank employees, who can help them in their financial journey and financial planning.”

Tarun Katyal shared that within the insurance sector too, companies have been going digital and trying to create better online experiences. “In recent times, the demand for insurance has suddenly sky-rocketed, resulting in business expansion, despite lockdowns and the pandemic.” Consequently, insurance companies faced the dual challenge of growing and expanding their presence while taking their digitalization agendas ahead.

Coming from the fintech sector, Sukhpreet Singh explained, “As digital natives, we have a technology advantage and our customers have always been ready to experience online lending. Our priority is to give our human resources robust training with respect to their digital skills.”   

According to Rajita Singh, the way that talent looks at jobs or careers has changed so organisations need to look at things differently too. “We are changing the way in which we hire and seek to understanding the genuine nature of the talent being considered. We are looking for people across the technology spectrum as there are still some legacy companies that work on mainframes while others, like fintech and digital natives, are on the cloud, etc.”

The panel also shared their views on how hybrid roles (tech + domain knowledge) were emerging; the dearth of skilled manpower and repurposing of talent; soft skills that will be essential in future; opportunities for women who have taken a career break and the need for antifragility in human resources.

The second panel, themed ‘Crafting BFSI Careers in a Digital India’ offered a longer-term perspective on careers and job opportunities crafted by digitization in the BFSI work ecosystem, which is transforming the industry.

Once again, the panellists comprised a spectrum of sector specialists including Somna Singh, India HR Head, Bank of America; Shraddha Bhargava, GM - HR, EbixCash; Vikas Bansal, CHRO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance; Amol Gupta, CHRO, FIS and Rohan Slyvester, Recruitment Evangelist, Indeed India, moderated by Paromita Chatterjee.

The discussion kicked off with Rohan Slyvester offering insights on job roles that are currently in high demand, as revealed by Indeed surveys. “Job growth has come back with a bang. In August and September 2021, we have seen some of the best job growth numbers and have finally crossed pre-pandemic levels. According to a recent report on Indeed’s India hiring tracker, the roles that were in maximum demand across all sectors in the second quarter were actually a few traditional roles like sales coordinator, relationship managers, and digital marketers” he said. Beyond traditional roles, there has also been a sharp rise in the demand for tech professionals, like UI/UX designers, software developers, data analysts, AI/ML engineers, cyber security, blockchain developers, etc.

As the discussion progressed, it became clear that all the participants saw an escalation in hiring trends in recent times. Describing her bank’s experience, Somna Singh said, “In 2020 and 2021, there has been non-stop hiring. We’ve hired a lot of freshers and college graduates and our global CEO was clear that we would honour all the offers that were made. On the operations side, we are looking at skills like data privacy, people who are coders, process specialists and other specialized skills.”

Offering her experience as someone from a new-age fintech company, Shraddha Bhargava recounted, “As an on-demand software solutions provider for fintech, insurance, banking, lending, travel, etc, we sourced talent in various domains. BFSI companies were improvising on services for their customers during the pandemic and tasked us to create solutions for them, as fast as possible. Consequently, our demand for tech talent – everything from coders and big data analysts to ethical hackers - increased considerably.”

Vikas Bansal shared, “The demand for both life and health insurance have surged over the past 18 months so our company is witnessing a massive spurt of hiring to cater to the needs of our clients. A bulk of this hiring was for traditional roles but as we are setting up a tech centre, we have a number of niche roles to be filled there. So, effectively, we are looking for talent across the board.”

Amol Gupta agreed with the other panellists that the job market was on fire, saying, “It’s a great time to be a candidate. The pandemic increased the speed of digitisation globally and because of that a lot of talent requirements have been generated.”

The panel also discussed what companies could do to ensure that they find appropriate talent; how recruiters and hiring executives are responding to the spurt in demand; keeping up with candidate demands and understanding their priorities, beyond compensation; relevance of academic qualification, experience and social intelligence, agility, etc.

Both panel discussions were followed by interactive sessions where questions from viewers were addressed and the panellists offered valuable advice on how to manage their job searches and candidate searches.

All in all, it emerged from the workshop that the pandemic has widened the slate for both employees and employers. The near-term future looks promising for job seekers, both in traditional as well as new-age BFSI roles and those who keep learning would have a clear advantage. While candidates should choose organisations to which they are culturally aligned, to ensure long-term sustainable careers, companies would have to become more agile and flexible to get the best talent.

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