YorkshireBuildingSociety - Members of West Yorkshire and the Humber Financial and Professional Skills Commission

Action needed to expand the financial and professional services talent pipeline in the Yorkshire and the Humber region

Collaboration and action is needed by employers, education providers and government to build on the success of the financial and professional services sector in Yorkshire and the Humber according to a report published today by the Yorkshire and the Humber Financial and Professional Services Skills Commission.

The report, Facing the Future: A skills roadmap for Yorkshire and the Humber’s Professional Services Industry, which was launched at a roundtable attended by Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, includes a series of recommendations to expand the financial and professional services talent pipeline in the region to meet the needs of the booming sector.

The financial and professional services industry is one of the region’s success stories, employing over 149,000 people and generating over £11.8billion of economic value.  The recommendations have been made by the commission to ensure the financial and professional services industry in the region can maintain its success and adapt to sector challenges such as the impact of technology, changing workforce demographics and shifts in workplace culture.

The five-point plan recommends collaboration and actions for employers, education providers and government in key areas:

  1. Expanding the pipeline of new talent entering the industry by taking new approaches to recruitment, such as increasing the use of higher-level apprenticeships, developing employer understanding of T-Levels and broadening engagement with students.
  2. Increasing investment in developing the skills of the existing workforce, focusing on employee development as a strategic priority and guaranteeing opportunities for staff to learn new skills on the job. The report also suggested introducing skills bootcamps to find new employees or upskill existing staff.
  3. Raising awareness of, and access to, financial and professional services careers in the region. The commission recommended a greater focus on careers outreach in schools and colleges, focusing on ‘cold spots’ where young people have less access to the industry.
  4. Driving greater diversity and inclusion in the workforce – the commission suggested firms take steps to measure workforce diversity, close gaps and implement evidence-based diversity and inclusion strategies.
  5. Coordinating and collaborating on shared skills challenges, with a commitment to continue the work of the commission for at least 12 months to champion co-operation across the sector, advocating for the industry and its skills needs, and supporting employer action on skills.

The commission hopes the recommendations will lead to a fundamental shift in the skills of the local workforce – with more high-quality apprenticeships, more opportunities for existing employees to improve their skills, and many more young people engaging positively with the industry.

John Heaps, Chair of Yorkshire Building Society and Yorkshire and the Humber Financial and Professional Services Skills Commission said: “The economy of the Yorkshire and Humber region continues to make a huge contribution to the wealth and prosperity of the nation, not least of all through the development of an outstanding Financial and Professional Services Sector.

“In the coming decades, financial and professional services have the potential to play an even more central role in Yorkshire and the Humber’s future – generating further growth and prosperity. That can only happen if we create the best possible conditions for existing businesses to grow in the region, for those outside it to be drawn here and for new ones to start here.

“I am confident that the recommendations outlined by the Yorkshire and the Humber Financial and Professional Services Skills Commission will help stimulate the change and positive action that will be required so we can look forward to an exciting and successful future.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said: “The financial and professional services sector is integral to West Yorkshire’s economic success, and we are committed to helping it grow in a positive and inclusive way.

“We want to ensure people know what opportunities are available and help them develop the skills they need to succeed.

“With our Fair Work Charter, we’re building an inclusive economy where everyone can reach their full potential as part of a brighter, stronger West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Claire Tunley, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Skills Commission, said:

“Building a skills-based culture and pipeline of talent across the UK is vital to delivering growth and prosperity across Financial and Professional Services. This report makes clear that greater collaboration between employers, civic leadership and education in Yorkshire and the Humber is essential to develop the expertise our sector needs to remain competitive.  Working together to tackle the skills gaps across our regions and nations, will strengthen innovation, productivity, and improve customer outcomes, boosting our economy and wider society.”

The Commission is made up of representatives from key players in the sector in the region, including Yorkshire Building Society, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City College, Financial Services Skills Commission, Deloitte, TheCityUK, Marsh McLennan, Redmayne Bentley, City of London Corporation, Eversheds Sutherland, Yorkshire Universities, Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, Whitecap Consulting Limited, PwC, and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.  Public First provided research and analysis support for the Commission and drafted the report.

Following the publication of the report, the commission will develop a 12-month plan to work with industry, education providers and Government to start to put the recommendations into action.

The report can be viewed here.