Report highlights the need for more data skills in the finance industry

February 22, 2023

UK financial services businesses are believed to need more data skills to succeed in a progressive digital landscape. The lack of data-specific skills for business strategies is hindering UK finance companies’ plans to meet customer demands for more personalised services.

Recent studies by data and analytics business Cynozure suggest there is an overall lack of understanding of the real value of data at the senior level within the UK financial industry. A survey of senior finance executives indicated that 27% of respondents lacked the necessary skills to utilise data properly. Over 30% stated that there was a data skills shortage across their entire business.

One of the main challenges facing the finance industry is determining the return on investment with data investments. Over 50% of people surveyed stated that this represented the main barrier to launching more data plans in their organisation. Jason Foster, the CEO of Cynozure, explained that the study suggested an opportunity for finance companies in the UK to adapt their data strategies and harness the benefits of data. Used in the right manner, data offers a range of benefits in the financial services industry, particularly when many people demand more personalised financial support to alleviate the cost-of-living pressures. Over 90% of respondents agreed that data findings would be critical to supporting customers as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.

According to a study by open banking tech supplier Tink, over 35% of people struggling financially would consider changing banking providers if they could access custom financial support. None of this will be achievable if the necessary skills aren’t in place to create data-focused solutions.

Conventional banks must improve their use of data if the automation of personalised banking is to progress and compete with other, more digitally-focused tech rivals. Challenger banks are implementing new data strategies, creating personalised financial services for customers. For example, Zopa Bank has created a customer experience that rivals a similar service provided by Netflix or retail giant Amazon. Both businesses depend on sophisticated technology, but the customer portal remains simple and accessible. Implementing machine learning processes has enabled Zopa to create a similar interface used in leading businesses and determine the habits of customers and other users.

The lack of data skills isn’t just a finance industry concern. According to a survey by data consultancy Carruthers and Jackson, 64% of data leaders worldwide believe that nearly all employees in their business lack data experience. The study also indicated that only 1 in 5 people were confident with their data literacy skills, and over 70% felt overwhelmed when working with data.

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