Helping companies thrive by preparing candidates with future-proof skills

Imagine the financial services industry ten years from now. As the cranes of urban development perpetually climb skyward, executives gaze out from their corner office windows overlooking a bustling future metropolis. All seems well – except upon closer inspection, there’s something amiss on the streets below.

Where is everyone?

The once bustling streets lie bare. The coffee shops stand empty. The industry’s top companies from banking to insurance struggle to operate with gaping holes in their workforces.

What happened in the intervening decade to trigger this mass exodus? It wasn’t an alien abduction. No city-wide gas leak knocked out the talent base (as far as we know).

The culprit is much simpler – over 30% of the industry’s most experienced employees have reached retirement age. With them goes a vast reservoir of institutional knowledge and specialised skills honed over long, storied careers.

Meanwhile, over 77% of younger staff accelerated their departures too, no longer willing to tough it out as the pandemic provoked an existential rethinking of priorities.

The result? A sector left starved for talent. Positions sit stubbornly vacant or get filled by less qualified candidates. Customers grow increasingly frustrated by long service delays. Disruptive upstarts begin luring away market share. All the while costs soar due to low retention rates and constant rehiring churn.

The growing talent gap

So, how will the financial services industry find itself stuck in such a bind in our (hypothetical) future world? Well, the roots of the talent drought are establishing themselves long before 2034 is set to arrive on our horizon. Even today, executives bemoan the “war for talent” raging in the job market.

LinkedIn overflows with recruiters bombarding prospective hires. Companies entice candidates with splash signing bonuses and swanky company benefits. Yet still, open roles linger month after month.

Why the disconnect?

Industry veterans retiring wasn’t the only talent gap culprit. Required skill sets are evolving faster than ever before. Niche technical competencies around data analytics and AI strategy have become must-haves almost overnight.

Soft skills like empathy, resilience and cross-functional dexterity grow ever more critical. Yet try as they might, HR departments often struggle to translate those ideal attributes into job descriptions alluring enough to hook applicants en masse from Gen Z to Millennials.

What 19-year-old wunderkind would willingly fetter themselves to a world of red tape and regulation instead of launching the next unicorn startup? How do financial services inspire passion and loyalty in the TikTok generation?

The industry finds itself caught between a demographic rock and a hard place. With no quick fixes in sight, the challenge calls for long-term workforce planning – and talent pipelines provide the key.

Investing in talent pipelines

In essence, talent pipelines create a dedicated channel for nurturing mission-critical roles – an assembly line producing the exact human capital a business needs most. That includes both the specialised technical capacities mentioned earlier, as well as broader leadership personalities equipped to steer companies through times both turbulent and tranquil.

A well-functioning talent pipeline can help with:

  • Identifying high-potential talent early on
  • Rigorous skill-building with industry-veteran support
  • Rotational programmes, mentoring, and targeted experience to build well-rounded candidates

Essentially, pipelines enable “test drives” of future employees before fully hiring on. This allows mistakes to happen without jeopardising operations.

For employers, benefits can include:

  • Reduced turnover and recruitment costs
  • Readily available access to cream of the crop talent
  • Improved diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • A glimpse of predictability amidst an uncertain future

The Davies Academy model


With talent pipelines offering a pragmatic solution to the talent crisis, the Davies Academy provides a prime model for bringing this workforce development approach to life. Our mission focuses explicitly on preparing workplace-ready, diverse talent through customised apprenticeships and embedded job experiences.

Bespoke learning pathways

The Academy’s programmes match trainees to in-demand specialisations – whether in high-growth areas like insurance and banking operations, cutting-edge digital transformation, or high-value data analytics. Training culminates in respected industry credentials from bodies like the Chartered Banker Institute that accelerate early career progression. This allows participants to gain qualifications that underscore their workplace readiness.

Virtual delivery enables widespread access

By utilising virtual and digital tools, the Academy provides personalised learning opportunities to talent, wherever they are located. State-of-the-art platforms allow the delivery of engaging content that resonates with younger cohorts. This approach also aptly positions trainees for digital economy success by equipping them with adaptable online competencies.

Onboarding support

Davies manages the entire talent embedding process within client organisations to ensure smooth transitions that minimise business disruption. The Academy handles all onboarding and equipment provision seamlessly behind the scenes. Ongoing access to mentors and coaches then helps cement concepts once on site while allowing trainees to further tailor their experience.

Soft skill development

The Academy experience centres on more than just hard skills acquisition. Participants are immersed in a lifelong learning mindset, encouraged to show vulnerability, embrace feedback, and continuously push new boundaries. This culture primes trainees for greater leadership impact by teaching them to balance technical capabilities with adaptive human-centred approaches.

Seamless transition to full-time roles

The Academy readies trainees to hit the ground running in client organisations through embedded job experience. Upon completion, high-potential graduates have a frictionless pathway to transition into full-time positions at the companies they’ve already proven themselves within. This allows both employer and employee to make informed decisions on long-term fits.

Unlocking more diverse perspectives

With over 50% of Davies’ candidate pool of women and underrepresented minorities, the Academy holds unique potential to uplift diversity within talent pipelines. This influx of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives serves to enrich client organisations through enhanced problem-solving and decision-making. Ultimately the Academy strives to create workforces reflecting the broad diversity of the communities they serve.

How we can help

And so as the curtains draw on our glimpse into a potential yet preventable future talent shortage, where does that leave current financial services leaders? Hopefully inspired to explore new workforce development approaches such as the pipeline model Davies Academy pioneers.

Want to determine if customised talent apprenticeships might help your organisation future-proof for the retirement wave cresting just over the horizon? Intrigued by the possibility of infusing more diverse perspectives? Contact one of our team members today to continue the talent conversation.

Cecilia Anderson

Senior Learning Experiences Consultant - Consulting and Technology

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