Working in financial services market research is very appealing to millennials.
If you are surprised by this you can be forgiven because not long ago, recruiting for this sector was extremely difficult. The industry certainly wasn’t known for innovation and was lagging behind other industries in respect of its digital capabilities. But this has definitely changed.
Not only has there been a rise in demand for new and emerging skills, but working as a research/ insight specialist in financial services has become very popular amongst millennials.
The skills that are in high demand have evolved. Whereas once they were confined to quantitative and qualitative analytical skills, clients are also asking for capabilities in storytelling, social listening, technology perception, negotiation, foresight, logic and the ability to see the big picture. Financial services clients want to work with research agencies that drive their agenda
Millennials have a voracious thirst for learning, and working with financial services clients can give them this. The sector provides some fantastic development opportunities, the chance to be part of an ever changing landscape, career advancement and the chance to realise their ambitions faster.
We asked two of our candidates Emily Gallup and Jessica Morley to shed some light on what is happening in financial services and why it is so appealing.
What key trends are happening in 2016 in Financial services market research sector?
J : There are two main themes of interest at the moment, which shouldn’t be seen as mutually exclusive as sometimes they overlap. These are:
The digitalisation of financial services. Incumbent providers want to know what is happening in the digital space as a result of challenger and digital disruptor activity and specifically how they can remain competitive. Much of this inspiration is coming from the retail and leisure industries rather than the FS industry itself.The impact of regulation.
This is something that is always a hot topic in financial services. However, in the next 12-18 months a number of regulatory changes, such as PSDII, will have a direct impact on the way that providers interact with consumers. Normally the impact is further removed so it is interesting to see how companies are starting to consider this interaction.
What are the key drivers at the moment?
E : I would say regulation, customer retention and customer growth are the most common drivers of research I’ve seen since recently joining the industry.
J : These largely overlap with the key themes with regulation and digital competition being key drivers. Customer retention is also very important and it links to the previous key points, particularly digital competition.
Traditional FS providers are very aware that customer expectations with regards to loyalty programs and customer experience are being driven by the actions of non-FS providers. This is forcing banks and other FS providers to re-think how they proactively seek loyalty from their customers. This is a stark contrast to more conventional attitudes where FS providers expected customer loyalty because it was not common for customers to actively seek out better options elsewhere. In this way we are seeing a key trend being the shift from passive loyalty to active retention schemes.
What are the challenges for Financial services businesses that they use market research specialists to address?
J: Customer experience and satisfaction. FS Companies have more insight into what their customers think of their services than ever before, thanks to things such as App reviews and social media. However, they do not always have the capacity to analyse this mine of data effectively nor is it always obvious why consumers are expressing specific opinions. Market researchers can shine a light on some of these mysteries through both qualitative and quantitative insights.
E: It’s a competitive landscape with frequently changing regulation and strict compliance standards, meaning companies must always be up-to-date with new service and product developments as well as new regulatory changes within the industry.
How competitive an industry is it?
J: It is not an industry that has been typically considered to be overly competitive (within retail banking that is) largely because previously it was a sector that was lacking in innovation. However, this has all changed in the last couple of years. New market entrants and changes in regulation has significantly increased the level of competition and it is interesting to see how the incumbents are responding to this new level of threat. There is no response that dominates which makes it an interesting area to work in.
Some people may say that working in FS is very dry, you don’t get a chance to be involved in interesting work. How would you reply?
J: That, that may have once been the case. All stereotypes have some foundation. However, I think that at the moment FS is one of the most dynamic and exciting sectors to be working in. It is changing so rapidly as customer expectations are shifting and millennials head into their mid-twenties to early thirties and become the key target audience for FS providers.
E: I would argue that, while the products and services may be somewhat dry to read about, they are also some of the most important consumer products out there. In helping companies increase clarity around saving plans and investment strategies, I like to think that financial services market research can indirectly help people in areas that make a large impact to their lives.
We’ve noticed that the demand for new talent within the financial services sector has risen dramatically since the beginning of 2016. For any more details about what the market has to offer please email us.