The artificial intelligence (AI) story in banking is not an adversarial one, with efficiency-obsessed organizations pitted against job-defending employees. As our Future Workforce Survey—Banking shows, it's a much more optimistic story. Banks will achieve cost savings, but growth will be a much greater benefit—and most executives expect a net gain in employment. Bank employees, on the other hand, expect AI to create opportunities for them and to improve their work-life balance. But there’s still a disconnect. The senior executives surveyed believe, on average, only 1 in 4 employees is ready to work with AI. And while most cite the growing skills gap as the number-one factor influencing their workforce strategy, only 3 percent plan to significantly increase their investment in reskilling programs in the next three years.

To benefit from the immense potential of AI, banks cannot simply apply it in an incremental, piecemeal fashion. Executives recognize that it will rapidly transform their organization and their industry. It follows that they need an enterprise strategy and enterprise-level leadership dedicated to AI. They also need a different type of workforce: one that is capable of implementing AI, and of working in tandem with intelligent solutions to develop new sources of value.

It’s time to start planning and developing the banking workforce of the future.

Banks that invest in AI and human-machine collaboration at the same rate as top-performing businesses could boost their revenue by an average 34 percent and their employment by 14 percent by 2022.
76 percent of banking CXOs agree adopting AI will be critical to their organization’s ability to differentiate in the market.
51 percent of CXOs say human-machine collaboration is important to achieve their strategic priorities.
26 percent Banking CXOs believe only 1in 4 of their workforce is ready to work with intelligent technologies
3 percent of banks plan to significantly increase their investment in reskilling programs in the next 3 years.

The Future Workforce Banking Survey

Accenture Research spoke with more than 1,200 CEOs and top executives working with AI. We also surveyed more than 14,000 workers spanning four generations and representing all skill levels. The research covered 12 industries and 11 countries and included interviews with people working with AI daily. The banking sample comprised 100 CEOs and top executives and more than 1,300 bank employees, all at large organizations.

The study found that 77 percent of banks plan to use AI to automate tasks to a large or very large extent in the next three years. Sixty-seven percent believe it will result in a net gain in jobs in their organization over that period. Employees too have a positive outlook—67 percent expect intelligent technologies to create opportunities for their work.

"We need people that are adaptable, because work is changing and it’s changing rapidly. We’re much more likely to hire you on the basis of your mindset and your ability to adapt than we are on your specific and deep subject matter knowledge, because that might not actually be that relevant in a year's time."

– NICK REED, Group General Manager Risk, ANZ Bank

Applied Intelligence will demand a very different banking workforce

Digitalization, until now, has impacted groups of people in different parts of the organization. Applied intelligence—our term for using a set of AI tools in combination with human ingenuity, across the enterprise, to solve complex challenges, develop new products, and break into and create new markets—will be much more pervasive. It will require dedicated leadership at the highest level and a cross-enterprise strategy with long-term budgeting. It also demands a workforce significantly different than that which is found in most banks today.

The change will take a concerted, thoughtful and ongoing effort. How can business leaders achieve this scale of transformation, providing a cross-enterprise framework for AI and elevating their workforce to create new value through human-machine collaboration? Our research points to three key actions:

    1. Reimagine work
    2. Pivot the workforce
    3. Scale up ‘new skilling’

Learn more about what senior banking executives and employees are thinking and doing with regard to artificial intelligence. Read how roles and tasks are likely to change as people start to work more collaboratively with intelligent machines. And find out what the key steps are to developing the banking workforce of the future. It’s all in our report: Future Workforce Survey - Banking. Register here to download it right away.

Short Report – Audiobook

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Listen to an overview of the Future Workforce Survey for banking.

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Andrew Woolf

Global Lead – Talent & Organization for Financial Services

Alan McIntyre

Senior Managing Director – Banking


Future Workforce Survey—Insurance
Reworking the revolution

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