Financial services employees want digital strategy input: Research

Financial services' rapid deployment of intelligent customer-facing technologies are "existentially threatening" to a majority of the sector's employees, latest research shows.

Three quarters (76%) of the 1390 respondents in a Microsoft survey believe automation will lead to job losses; and more than 82% said digital transformation will revolutionise financial services.

More than half (59%) of first-line finance workers - those in customer-facing or product-handling roles - feel they have the skills to handle the technological changes.

The sector is embracing new technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence; rethinking strategies, and seeking to personalise and enhance customer experience while identifying efficiencies across the business, the study noted.

But many workers said managers and senior leaders keep them out of the loop when it comes to digital strategies; only 63% of first-line employees felt well informed versus 78% of managers.

Employees are seeking to actively participate in greater digital transformation engagement with managers as a majority (81%) believe strong leadership is key to successfully delivering this.

Microsoft Australia general manager of digital workplace and collaboration Ian Heard said as rote work is increasingly performed by machines, human interaction and knowledge-based expertise will become more important to frontline workers.

"They'll use technology to collaborate, to exercise greater creative and strategic freedom, and to bring real value to the work they perform," Heard said.

Organisations that engage first-line workers in digital transformation initiatives - ensuring they are inclusive, simple and effective, support creativity and teamwork, and preserve employee security - would find themselves better placed to succeed with their strategic priorities, he said.

Read more: Digital transformationMicrosoftAutomationIan Heard
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