Home Banking & Finance Banks must upskill employees as sector’s digitalization continues

Banks must upskill employees as sector’s digitalization continues

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS must upgrade the skills of their employees to keep up with latest digital trends and threats as more customers shift online. — JOHN SCHNOBRICH-UNSPLASH

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS should craft programs to upgrade the digital skills of their employees to help them adapt to current trends in the industry, Coursera said.

Coursera Managing Director for India and Asia-Pacific (APAC) Raghav Gupta said in an interview with BusinessWorld that as clients become more digitally savvy, employees should also be literate in cybersecurity and data privacy.

“I think it’s important to call out that a lot of things obviously accelerated through the course of the pandemic,” Mr. Gupta said, adding that the necessary skills for working professionals have changed due to clients becoming more comfortable with digital technology. 

“A lot of… the customers for banks and insurance companies are increasingly digital natives. Younger people are very comfortable using digital platforms,” Mr. Gupta said.

He said this is driving the digitalization of products and services globally.

“While this might vary from industry to industry, we’ve seen a general focus on skills around digitalization skills, around data and skills, around working remotely,” he said. “We’ve seen that many banking companies have adopted a digital-first strategy because the customer is digitally savvy.”

Mr. Gupta said in the Philippines, around 1.7 million people have tapped Coursera and about 400,000 people enrolled in 2021. He added that Filipinos saw a lot of value in learning new skills online during the pandemic.

When asked how financial institutions should start upskilling their employees, he said they do not need to invest a lot of time to acquire a new skill and instead should consume easy to understand content that would help them learn faster. 

“If I’m a data analyst at a bank and I’m building a business model on an Excel sheet and I’ve forgotten how to do pivot tables, I can quickly go and watch a 10-minute to 20-minute video, which reminds me how to do a pivot table and then come back to my business model,” Mr. Gupta said.

“Banks are saying maybe 20-30% of our workforce needs deep skilling, and we’re working with them and helping them plan for that. And then we are saying, maybe 70-80% of your workforce needs what I would call ‘learning in the flow of work’ bite-sized learning. And we are enabling that as well,” he added.

He added that programs and academies in the Coursera platform will enable guided and skill-first learning. These programs focus on delivering skills that will have a large impact on businesses.

“We’ve seen that with BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands), leveraging the Coursera platform, especially in the areas of technology,” he said. “And over the course of time that we worked together, almost 10,000 courses have been consumed by BPI employees. They’ve spent upwards of 60,000 hours learning on the Coursera platform.”

Mr. Gupta said improving banks’ digital capability will also help improve financial inclusion in the country.

“I would imagine that the ability to reach a lot more people, especially in tier two, tier three rural locations as well, is possible through digital channels,” he said, adding that Coursera has been focused on trying to reduce the digital divide. 

“Digital divide applies to every industry. In our case, it is education. In the case of banking, of course, it is financial inclusion, and in general, the digital channel allows us to reach a lot more people at a much lower cost,” he said.

“So yes, I would imagine that financial inclusion can be met as a result of digitalization. And so, building the skills to be able to enable this is super important for banks in the country.” — Keisha B. Ta-asan