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Finance talent management: reducing employee turnover in finance

If you work in finance, you are probably already aware of the heightened rates of employee turnover across the sector. Indeed, across the whole EMEA region, the results of our 2024 Hays Salary Guide surveys showed that 78% of all workers in the BFSI sector across the region changed companies last year alone. 
In the same studies, 23.44% of all BFSI employers across EMEA named “limited budgets” as the main factor limiting their business growth last year, closely followed by "a shortage of skilled professionals in the market” (22.46%). Sought-after finance professionals know their worth and know the demand, particularly those with the skills needed to support digital transformation. Even in times of economic uncertainty, these people are not afraid to leave for more favourable conditions elsewhere.
Established financial institutions are racing to leverage cutting-edge technologies like AI, blockchain, Machine Learning, and Big Data analytics. When it comes to talent, the issue is that these organisations are competing for the required skills with FinTechs, Neobanks and Crypto exchanges which are more ‘digitally native’ and can appeal more to professionals looking for exciting projects and organisations with innovative reputations. 
Organisations looking to retain their sought-after talent could do so by offering salary increases, but when that’s not possible they must look beyond the pay packet to satisfy their prized assets. 
So, first, we will look at the potential impacts of talent attrition in the BFSI sphere and then explore what matters most to these professionals in order to keep them satisfied and motivated where they are right now.

The effects of high attrition in finance talent management

In general, high attrition rates have several detrimental effects on the well-being of organisations beyond the loss of knowledge and skills, from increased staffing costs to drops in morale amongst remaining employees.
For BFSI companies in particular, high employee turnover poses two main challenges: 

1. Hindering innovation 

It is normally assumed that new hires boost innovation as they bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table. However, experienced employees leaving can dampen this innovation. Exiting employees do not only take with them their specialised skills, but also valuable knowledge about processes and possibilities within the company’s operational set up.  The loss of such insights into company processes and operations makes it harder to turn ideas into realities, ultimately hindering an organisation’s ability to innovate, adapt quickly to market changes, and maintain operational efficiency. In the BFSI sector, where there is such competition between intricate and progressive financial products, losing seasoned professionals can significantly impact decision-making as well as companies’ bottom lines.  

2. Risk and compliance  

In the heavily regulated BFSI sphere, where it’s so critical to properly adhere to multiple regulations, exiting employees may cause their companies compliance issues if the processes are not properly managed. Without proper exit procedures, there’s a risk of data leakage or misuse that can jeopardize client trust and lead to severe legal consequences. 
Other compliance and reputational threats can also come from losing essential expertise in areas like the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know your Customer (KYC) fields, which are vital for safeguarding the integrity of financial systems at large. 

Finance talent retention - giving them what they want 

The EMEA Hays Salary Guide surveys cited earlier gathered key insights from business leaders, hiring managers, employees, and job seekers across the region to elicit what’s most important to finance professionals today. Salary is obviously the number one factor, but the companies that understand the other priorities, wants and needs of their talent hold the keys to Retention.
So, what did our respondents tell us?

1. Flexible work schedules:

42% of EMEA BFSI employees say “flexible working” is the most important non-monetary benefit when choosing an employer. BFSI workers prioritise autonomy and the freedom to build their own schedules. Companies can enhance job satisfaction and employee loyalty by including options for remote work, flexible hours, or even compressed working weeks. 

2. Professional development opportunities:

40% of EMEA BFSI workers selected “career development initiatives” as one of the reasons for changing companies last year. Interestingly, 80% of workers reported interest in getting AI training, but just 10% claimed to have received it from their employers.  Especially for the more traditional BFSI organisations competing with Neobanks and FinTechs, it could be wise to show commitment to keeping workers ahead of the curve with the latest innovations to avoid losing them to organisations that place innovation at the heart of their employer branding efforts. 

3. Competitive compensation and benefits:

Unsurprisingly given the cost of living increases last year, the main reason that EMEA BFSI workers changed jobs last year was to get a higher salary. However, the second reason for 46% of those respondents was the overall “benefits package”. For finance organisations who cannot afford to match the salaries of organisations looking to hire their key professionals, offering attractive non-monetary benefits can really help. In particular, the more established organisations can leverage their connections to build partnerships with other organisations to provide perks like health insurance, wellness programs, meal cards, and substantial discounts for gyms, shops, and travel. 

4. Positive company culture:

40% of EMEA BFSI workers who left their companies last year did so for a better “work atmosphere”. It might sound obvious, but companies need to work hard to create environments that people want to work in. This is especially pertinent for workers from different backgrounds, for whom a supportive and inclusive environment is essential. Companies should pay real attention to mental health as well as recognizing and rewarding employee achievements and promoting a healthy work-life balance for all.
Talent retention in the BFSI sector is a multifaceted challenge that requires a comprehensive talent approach. The insights in this blog should prove helpful for your financial services talent retention, but these need to be built into a joined-up strategy to really strengthen your employer value proposition (EVP) and keep your brightest talent on the payroll instead of having to find key finance talent all over again. 


Jon Mannall
EMEA Managing Director, Enterprise Solutions at Hays
Jonathan is the EMEA Managing Director for Enterprise Solutions at Hays. Previous roles held at Hays included Service Delivery Director, Head of Sales for the UK and Global Head of Sales, Solutions and Innovation. He is now responsible for leading our teams across 11 countries in EMEA and evolving our approach to engaging, delivering and developing our strategic client relationships across the region.
Prior to joining Hays, and after completing his Masters in Philosophy and Management, Jon worked in the RPO and MSP sector for 10 years with a range of Financial Services, Public Sector, IT & Telecommunications, and Insurance clients in Sales and Operations Director roles.