2024 Recruitment Trends in the Banking Industry

BY Nicole Sopkovich   |  

The banking industry is facing a significant transformation fuelled by three key factors: digital acceleration, evolving customer expectations, and stricter regulations. Technology plays a central role, driving transactions through AI-powered fraud detection and blockchain-backed payments. Customers demand seamless digital experiences while regulations are tightening around lending and cybersecurity.

This white paper will explore the crucial recruitment trends shaping the 2024 banking landscape. We'll analyse the skills in high demand, from data scientists and cybersecurity experts to AI specialists and blockchain professionals. Innovative onboarding strategies and building a diverse, future-proof workforce will be key themes. These insights will guide talent professionals in navigating this rapidly evolving industry.

Tech-driven Transformation

The Rise of the Machines:

The UK banking industry is undergoing a seismic shift powered by rapid technological advancements. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, and cloud computing are no longer buzzwords but essential tools driving efficiency, innovation, and personalisation. This tech-driven transformation is reshaping the recruitment landscape, creating a growing demand for specific skills:

  • AI & Machine Learning: Banks leverage AI and ML to personalise customer experiences, optimise risk management, and automate back-office processes. The demand for data scientists, AI engineers, and ML specialists is soaring from fraud detection to algorithmic trading.
  • Blockchain: With blockchain's potential to revolutionise cross-border payments, secure identities, and streamline compliance, expertise in this area is highly sought-after. Talent with experience in distributed ledger technology and smart contracts is increasingly valuable.
  • Cloud Computing: The migration to cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform necessitates skills in cloud architecture, security, and migration. Professionals with expertise in these areas are crucial for enabling scalability and agility in a competitive environment.

Automation - Friend or Foe?

While technology creates exciting opportunities, the rise of automation also raises concerns about job displacement. Repetitive tasks like loan processing and data entry are increasingly handled by software, impacting traditional banking roles. However, this doesn't spell doom and gloom. Instead, it highlights the need for:

  • Upskilling and Reskilling: Existing employees must be equipped with new skills to stay relevant in the changing landscape. Banks must invest in training programs on data analysis, coding, and digital marketing to empower their workforce.
  • Focus on Creativity and Customer-Centricity: As machines handle routine tasks, human skills like critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence become paramount. The ability to analyse data, build relationships, and provide personalised advice will be essential for success in the future of banking.

Data Visualisation - Making Insight Actionable:

The explosion of data generated by digital transactions and customer interactions makes data analysis and visualisation crucial. Banks need professionals to transform raw data into actionable insights, driving informed decision-making. Skills in data mining, statistical analysis, and creating compelling data visualisations are highly sought-after, helping banks extract the full potential of their data goldmine.

UK Data and Insights:

  • A recent report by Accenture estimates that AI could create 20 million new jobs in the UK by 2030 while also displacing 15 million existing jobs. The banking sector is expected to see significant automation, particularly in front-office tasks.
  • The UK government's AI and Data Economy National Strategy emphasises the importance of developing AI talent and ensuring that the benefits of the technology are shared broadly.
  • The 2023 Skills for the Future white paper by the Department for Education identifies digital skills as a top priority for the UK workforce, highlighting the need for training programs in data analysis, cloud computing, and cybersecurity.

ESG - The Ethical Imperative Reshaping UK Banking

The winds of change are sweeping through the UK banking industry, and they're driven by a powerful force: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. ESG is no longer a niche concern; it's rapidly becoming a core aspect of how banks operate, invest, and engage with stakeholders. Let's delve into this crucial trend, exploring its implications for talent acquisition and the future of UK banking.

Why the ESG Focus?

The reasons for the growing emphasis on ESG are manifold:

  • Climate Change: The urgency of tackling climate change is undeniable. Banks are increasingly aware of the financial risks associated with climate-related events and actively seek to invest in sustainable solutions.
  • Societal Demands: Customers, investors, and employees demand greater transparency and accountability from businesses on their social and environmental impact. Banks demonstrating a solid commitment to ESG principles are better positioned to attract and retain talent and capital.
  • Regulatory Landscape: Regulatory frameworks like the UK's Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) push banks to disclose and manage their climate-related risks and opportunities. This necessitates hiring professionals with expertise in ESG integration and reporting.

Demand for ESG Expertise:

With the rise of ESG, a new breed of professionals is in high demand:

  • Sustainable Finance Specialists: These individuals understand the intricacies of green bonds, social impact investing, and responsible lending practices. They are crucial for helping banks develop and implement ESG-aligned investment strategies.
  • Impact Investors: These professionals seek to generate financial returns and positive social and environmental impact through their investments. Banks are increasingly building dedicated impact investing teams to cater to this growing market segment.

Diversity and Inclusion at the Core:

ESG and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are intrinsically linked. A sustainable future can only be achieved through inclusive economic growth and equal opportunities for all. Banks embracing DE&I principles in their workforce and lending practices are better positioned to attract and retain talent, mitigate social risks, and contribute to a fairer, more sustainable society.

UK Data and Insights:

  • The UK ranks as the third largest global market for sustainable investments, with assets under management exceeding £150 billion.
  • A recent study by PwC found that 78% of UK financial services firms are actively integrating ESG into their business strategy.
  • The UK government has set ambitious climate change targets, including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is further driving the demand for ESG expertise in the banking sector.

Cybersecurity Imperative

The digital realm offers immense opportunities for the UK banking industry but also introduces a chilling reality: cybersecurity threats are escalating at an alarming rate. From sophisticated malware attacks to data breaches and phishing scams, the financial sector is a prime target for cybercriminals, making robust cybersecurity more crucial than ever. Let's explore this critical trend and its implications for talent acquisition in the UK banking landscape.

The Heightened Focus:

The urgency of cybersecurity is undeniable. Recent statistics paint a grim picture:

  • The Ponemon Institute reports that the average data breach cost in the UK financial services sector is a staggering £3.8 million.
  • A report by PwC reveals that 74% of UK financial services executives consider cyberattacks the most significant risk to their industry.
  • The Bank of England identifies cyber threats as a significant systemic risk to the UK financial system.

These figures underscore the need for banks to prioritise cybersecurity and invest heavily in building robust defences.

Demanding Expertise:

As threats evolve, so does the need for specialised talent. The demand for cybersecurity professionals in the UK banking sector is booming, particularly for:

  • Vulnerability Analysts: These are the digital detectives tasked with identifying weaknesses in systems and networks before attackers exploit them.
  • Incident Responders: These individuals are the first line of defence against cyberattacks, responsible for mitigating damage and restoring operations.
  • Security Architects: They design and implement secure systems and networks, ensuring data integrity and preventing unauthorised access.

Data Privacy and Compliance:

With regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the upcoming NIS2 directive, data privacy and compliance are crucial aspects of cyber defence. Banks require professionals with expertise in:

  • Data Privacy Law: These individuals ensure that the bank's practices comply with relevant data privacy regulations and protect customer information.
  • Compliance Officers: They oversee the bank's adherence to cybersecurity regulations and internal security policies.

UK Data and Insights:

  • The UK government's National Cyber Security Strategy prioritises investing in cybersecurity skills and talent development.
  • The Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis 2023 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) estimates a shortfall of 35,000 cybersecurity professionals in the UK.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers various training programs and resources to equip individuals with the necessary skills to combat cyber threats.

The Talent Shift:

The UK banking industry faces a talent revolution driven by the changing preferences of millennials and Gen Z, the future workforce. These generations prioritise purpose, flexibility, and meaningful work experiences, forcing banks to re-evaluate their traditional approaches to culture, career development, and work-life balance. Let's dive into this seismic shift and its implications for attracting and retaining top talent in the competitive UK banking landscape.

Shifting Priorities:

Millennials and Gen Z candidates value more than just a hefty paycheck.

  • Purpose-driven work: They want to contribute to a cause larger than themselves, aligning their values with the bank's social impact and sustainability initiatives.
  • Growth and development: Continuous learning and opportunities for advancement are crucial. Skills development programs, mentorship, and diverse career paths are desirable.
  • Work-life balance: These generations prioritise personal well-being. Flexible work arrangements like remote work or hybrid models are increasingly in demand.

Remote Work Revolution:

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst, normalising remote work in numerous industries. Banking is no exception. The benefits are mutual:

  • Talent flexibility: Banks can access a wider talent pool beyond geographical limitations.
  • Employee satisfaction: Increased work-life balance and autonomy boost employee engagement and retention.
  • Cost savings: Reduced office space requirements can bring significant financial advantages.

UK Data and Insights:

  • A recent study revealed that 74% of UK graduates prefer hybrid or remote work models.
  • A Bank of England survey found that 60% of UK banks offer increased remote work options post-pandemic.
  • The UK government has introduced flexible working regulations, further supporting this trend.

Branding and Engagement:

Standing out in a crowded market requires banks to invest in:

  • Strong employer branding: Communicating a transparent company culture, purpose, and commitment to values that resonate with millennials and Gen Z.
  • Employee engagement initiatives: Fostering a sense of belonging, recognition, and feedback mechanisms to keep employees invested and motivated.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Creating a workplace that embraces different backgrounds and perspectives attracts and retains top talent.

Skill Development and Reskilling:

 The winds of change sweep through the UK banking industry, driven by technological advancements, regulatory shifts, and evolving customer expectations. To navigate this dynamic landscape, banks must attract new talent with the right skill sets and invest in upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce. This trend transcends mere workforce adaptation; it's about fostering a culture of continuous learning and ensuring employee growth alongside the industry.

The Upskilling Imperative:

The need for reskilling and upskilling stems from various factors:

  • Technology and Automation: As AI, machine learning, and automation reshape banking, traditional roles evolve, and new skills become critical. Data analysis, coding, and digital marketing competencies rise in demand, requiring upskilling existing employees to stay relevant.
  • Evolving Regulations: Changes in regulatory frameworks like MiFID II and GDPR necessitate new expertise in compliance and data privacy. Continuous training and upskilling ensure employees stay abreast of regulations and best practices.
  • Shifting Customer Needs: With increasing customer expectations for personalised experiences and digital solutions, upskilling employees in customer-centricity, digital communications, and financial advice becomes crucial.

Internal Talent Mobility:

Instead of solely seeking external talent, banks can unlock potential within their workforce through:

  • Internal Mobility Programs: These programs help employees transition to new roles within the bank, leveraging their existing knowledge and skills while acquiring new ones through targeted training. This not only increases retention but also reduces recruitment costs.
  • Cross-functional Training Initiatives: Breaking down departmental silos and creating opportunities for employees to learn from other teams across various functions fosters broader skill sets and enhances innovation.

Partnerships for Progress:

To bridge the skills gap, banks can tap into external resources:

  • Collaboration with Educational Institutions: Partnering with universities and colleges creates access to relevant training programs and helps develop talent pipelines for the future.
  • Training Providers and Industry Experts: Leveraging expertise from external training providers and industry consultants expands learning opportunities and exposes employees to cutting-edge trends and practices.

UK Data and Insights:

  • The UK government's Skills for the Future white paper identifies upskilling and reskilling as crucial for the future workforce, emphasising collaboration between businesses, training providers, and educational institutions.
  • The Institute for Employment Studies estimates that over half of UK, workers must be reskilled by 2030 to adapt to automation and technological change.
  • The Financial Services Skills Commission calls for investing in upskilling the banking workforce to address the evolving skills needs of the industry.



The UK banking industry stands at a pivotal juncture. Technological advancements, regulatory pressure, and shifting customer demands are creating a tidal wave of change, reshaping the talent landscape, and demanding a new playbook for success. Attracting and retaining the right talent has become more crucial in this storm.

This white paper has explored the critical recruitment trends shaping the UK banking landscape in 2024. We've delved into the growing demand for tech-savvy professionals, the imperative of ESG integration, the crucial role of cybersecurity expertise, and the shift toward attracting a purpose-driven and flexible workforce. Upskilling and reskilling existing employees alongside fostering a culture of continuous learning will be critical for weathering the talent tsunami and building a future-proof workforce.

But the journey doesn't end here. The UK banking industry is a dynamic ecosystem, and staying ahead of the curve requires constant adaptation and evolution. Here are some key insights to keep in mind as we navigate the coming years:

  • Embrace the data revolution: Leverage data analytics to understand workforce trends, identify talent gaps, and optimise recruitment strategies. The UK government's Data: A new direction for 2025 sets the stage for data-driven decision-making across industries, including banking.
  • Prioritise diversity and inclusion: Building a diverse and inclusive workforce isn't just the right thing to do; it's also imperative for attracting and retaining top talent. The 2023 Inclusive Economy Report by the Centre for Social Justice highlights the potential economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the UK workforce.
  • Invest in talent development: Upskilling and reskilling existing employees through training programs, partnerships, and internal mobility initiatives are crucial for future-proofing the workforce. The UK government's Skills for the Future white paper emphasises the need for collaboration between businesses and training providers to address the upskilling challenge.
  • Foster a culture of innovation and agility: Encourage creativity, collaboration, and risk-taking to adapt to evolving technologies and customer needs. The UK's Research and Development Roadmap sets ambitious goals for innovation across various sectors, including finance.

The UK banking industry has a long and storied history of resilience and adaptation. By embracing these trends and cultivating a future-proof workforce, banks can weather the talent tsunami and ride the waves of change to a brighter, more sustainable future.

Remember, attracting the right talent isn't just about filling positions; it's about building the future of UK banking, one skilled individual at a time.


BACK TO NEWS Go to Next Blog