Actions vis-à-vis its staff members

One of the strategic agenda working groups mapped out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the financial institutions as employers.

The financial sector is nevertheless performing its social role in full, both for its future staff members and for those people currently working in the sector. Thus, for example, the banks are continuing to invest heavily in training their people.

Training

In 2010, according to figures from the National Bank of Belgium, they spent 2.75% of their gross payroll on training, which is 0.16% more than the previous year. This percentage is considerably higher than in other sectors. All Belgian companies combined spend an average of 1.48% of their gross payroll on training while the Generation Pact stipulates a minimum target of 1.9%.

A banker’s ethics and training are an important element in the confidence of the consumer. The financial sector has therefore undertaken to train its employees even more frequently and better via the Febelfin Academy.

Last year, the financial sector’s training institute trained over 12,000 people and held more than 17,000 exams. The Febelfin Academy is thus undeniably doing its bit to better tailor the training of bank employees to customers’ needs and expectations. The harmonised courses and certifications recognised by the entire sector and the regulator also increase job mobility and ensure a better flow between financial employers. Ultimately, they will also help reduce the risk profile of the financial institutions.

Difficult economic circumstances

In difficult economic circumstances such as those at present, however, the pressure of work also increases, and employment even comes under pressure. To offset their low profitability, financial institutions often have to cut costs. In some scenarios, this can have repercussions on staffing levels. These repercussions must be properly managed.

Nevertheless, there remain ample challenges for current and future banking staff. The demands placed on the banks by regulators and society have changed in recent years. This has increased the pressure on staff: banks have to make even more of an effort to satisfy the new requirements, to achieve targets and sales figures or to keep profitability at acceptable levels. In certain cases this has led to restructurings and soft redundancies, which has affected banking staff’s perception of their prospects for the future. In addition, the sector is not always treated very positively by public opinion. As a result, bank employees often find themselves at the centre of a social debate, which is not always easy.

Meanwhile, the development opportunities for new talent are being curtailed by declining revenues and cost structures under pressure. This development may well also erode the attractiveness of the sector for young talent.

Need for young, open-minded, motivated people

Nevertheless, precisely at this time banks need young, open-minded, motivated people who want to be part of the radical transformation they are going through. To chart the way to a more sustainable and better-balanced banking sector, Febelfin has set up the Wefin platform to examine the governance structure of future banks (see The Wefin platform).

The future of the sector depends on the “human capital” that can be attracted. The financial sector is therefore doing all it can to bring in and retain young talent. It is throwing itself fully into the proverbial “war for talent”.

On 15 March 2013, the website www.jobsinbanking.be was launched to increase the visibility of all possible financial jobs. The site is a joint initiative of the sector organisation, Febelfin, and the recruitment platform Jobat.be. Jobsinbanking brings together all the vacancies in Belgium’s financial sector. For the applicant, this formula offers a great advantage: at one glance he or she can see all the available jobs at various Belgian financial institutions.