Attracting and retaining talent in the new world of work


In today’s environment, the dynamics in the workforce are changing dramatically. Not only are business needs evolving rapidly requiring a change from traditional business models, technology changes are influencing the nature of jobs and our approach to work. It is also becoming more widely recognised that diversity and inclusion needs to be a HR priority to promote diversity in thought and evolve organisational culture.


Hear from experts on how the evolution of technology, the evolution of the payments industry and all cultural and Human Resources changes will force traditional organisations to rapidly evolve if they want to remain relevant in the changing landscape. Join this session to learn what your organisation can do to pivot in the right direction and become future proof.

Digital transformation is a major disruption – but a necessary one – for banks. To manage digital transformation, banks need not only technology skills, but also new ways of working and thinking, and capacity to adapt. One of the key factors of success in this regard will be attracting new talents, in a world where such talent can be in short supply in some areas. For example, it is estimated that globally there is a shortage of data and cybersecurity professionals of between 25-40%.

The banking industry faces two main challenges: attracting and retaining the talent and experience required in the digital landscape. We face competition from the BigTechs, digital platforms and startups, which are attractive to young people. But banks can offer millennials great work and technology experience that compare favourably with Tech companies. Societe Generale’s digital transformation program offers a wide range of experiences in improving customer experience, AI for fraud detection for example, cybersecurity, biometrics and distributed ledger technology (DLT). Moreover, banks collect and process huge amounts of data, which would provide data scientists with invaluable experience.

Open source developments are key to attracting talented developers

Geneviève Douhet
Head of Innovation, Global Transaction & Payment Services, Societe Generale

To attract millennials, banks must recognise that this group is committed to changing the world for the better; banks could do better at explaining the social and economic role they can play. For example, Societe Generale is developing services for non-banked and underbanked people in Africa. Banks also need to explore how the future of work will impact customers, how to adapt in the future credit scoring systems for those who work freelance for many different employers and don’t receive regular salary payments. Banks can also play a role in promoting and encouraging digital skills in the wider community. Societe Generale is involved in several programs to professionalise digital skills, working with social enterprises to provide digital tuition.

An entrepreneurial spirit is important to build new businesses and create new customer experiences. Societe Generale has launched 60 internal startup teams that are being incubated by the bank and its partners to innovate and help create the bank of the future. We need to foster this entrepreneurial spirit to ensure we can build tomorrow’s business models.

Work will be much more collaborative in the future – banks recognise that they cannot do everything themselves and are open to working with third parties, such as FinTechs. At Societe Generale, we have introduced ‘smart workplaces’ – flexible offices that encourage collaborative work and agile teams. Within these workplaces, our accelerators host both internal and external startups with a view to foster exchanges between the two worlds. There is a great deal of energy and focus here. At the same time, digital technology enables people to work remotely or at home, attending meetings via video calls, for example. The physical link of the past is being replaced with digital links that enable collaborative work.

Previously, innovation and ideation tended to be very product-oriented, but today we are conscious of customers’ needs in terms of the user experience and new business and platform models. This is a challenge for banks, which must move away from incremental innovation and encourage staff to find new business models that benefit customers. This will equip banks to better compete with new entrants.

For many years, banks tended to source new graduates from the same universities or business or engineering schools. This resulted in a very homogenous set of profiles at banks. I believe the trend is now to diversify the sources of talent as banks seek new skills. The technology changes we are witnessing and the way they are changing jobs means the way banks hire people is also changing. Rather than considering the type of degree someone has, it now makes more sense to understand whether they have an innovative mindset.

Training and reskilling staff will become increasingly important as new technologies take hold.

Artificial intelligence will enable significant cost reduction and operational efficiency for banks and will help us to add more value for customers. It is likely to disrupt banks’ internal organisation as some of the jobs or shares of tasks are likely to be replaced by machines while new ones are created. But I believe it is unlikely that machines will take over all work; there are certain areas that require human skills of communications, ingenuity, creativity and empathy. The challenge for banks will be to unlock these skills and adapt the corporate culture and practice, moving away from the current heavily process-based approach.  

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