AI yet to impact financial services jobs

AI yet to impact financial services jobs

But jobs after Brexit is a cause for concern as introduction of new technologies continues to accelerate

AI yet to impact financial services jobs

It might be somewhat surprising that AI has yet to break into the two million financial services sector jobs in the UK, but UHY Hacker Young believes this is set to change.

There has been a rapid acceleration in the introduction of new technologies in the financial and professional services, with the likes of “Big Data” as well as AI. So far, employee numbers have yet to be impacted by this.

Nonetheless, the introduction of such technologies is bound to have long term consequences.

Since 2013, there has been an increase of 100,000 jobs available as of 2017, from 1.9m to 2m.

UHY Hacker Young’s report stated: “A Brexit ‘no deal’ could contribute to job losses in the sector in the short term if businesses start to move abroad.

“The nature of many more junior financial and professional services roles and the sectors’ staff costs to income ratio makes these two sectors particularly attractive for replacing of jobs through automation and the use of AI.”

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is being trialled in a growing number of financial organisations, helping with the repetitive, routine work.

Intelligent software is slowly replacing sales staff who sell products online. Businesses such as Co-op Bank now use the likes of “Mia”, a chatbot that interacts with customers.

Coupled with post-Brexit concerns, this does suggest that UHY Hacker Young’s claims about the future of jobs and technology in the financial and professional services sectors are not unfounded.

This is further supported by the City of London corporations policy chairwoman, Catherine McGuiness, who has estimated 3,500 to 12,000 jobs could be lost after March 2019, when Britain formally leaves the EU.

Scott McCullough, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “We are not yet at the point where robots take jobs from humans in financial services without more new ‘complex’ roles for humans being created elsewhere within those same employers – but we are getting closer to that tipping point.

“Business leaders are perpetually under pressure to improve processes, cut costs and streamline their businesses and investing in AI is incredibly attractive from both that point of view and as a way to reduce human error. Those jobs at risk of being replaced by robots are likely to be those that require face-to-face negotiation and rapport with customers and clients.

“However, it is important to remember that AI will also create new jobs in the sector. With the right training, employees can take advantage of new, more exciting jobs supported by the emerging technology that will inevitably become available.

“There were fears that banks and other institutions might uproot to Frankfurt and Paris immediately after the Brexit vote. So far these actions have not impacted overall employment in the sector but Brexit could still have an impact further down the line, particularly if there is a ‘no deal’ scenario.”

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