HR Directors’ Circle – Financial & Professional Services – Frankfurt 2018

Author Tobias Stenzel
May 25, 2018

Frazer Jones, alongside Simon Kaye (Global Recruitment Director – Knowledge & Analytics, Boston Consulting Group) and Stefanie Zelinka (VP Leadership Planning & Development, Deutsche Bank) were happy to host our latest HR Directors’ Circle Event, focussing upon the changing paradigms of the German Financial and Professional Services market and how this will affect the Talent Acquisition, Engagement and Retention strategies within the sector.

To highlight some of the key challenges faced on the Talent Acquisition front, Simon Kaye gave us a very interesting insight into some of the recent global trends that will have a major impact on the German labour market in the future.

BCG carried out a study in 2014 regarding the global workforce availability, which forecast a significant shortage in labour for almost all developed economies, with Germany being one of those facing the highest shortage: the study having forecast a decrease in labour availability of 23% by 2030. When coupled with the expectation of an increasing labour demand, which BCG calculated based upon GDP growth, this could mean a labour shortfall of more than 8 million people, which is a staggering 20% of the total workforce.

In a related study, BCG surveyed 200,000 job seekers across the globe in a bid to ascertain their preferences on location and role content. In this study, Germany came a very respectable 4th, behind the USA, UK and Canada. However, importantly for the Financial and Professional Services market, Frankfurt did not rank in the top 30 global cities. Berlin however did come in at 6th, with Munich sitting in 14th.

Simon then talked us through what is most important to the current workforce. The five most important aspects of a job in Germany are:

1.     A good working relationship

2.     Appreciation of your work

3.     Attractive remuneration

4.     Good relationships with superiors

5.     Interesting job content

But to grow, the sector must maintain an attractive view to all nationalities. In the graph above you can see how Germany compares to other countries globally. Not only must employers make themselves more attractive to internationals, but Frankfurt as a city must also become better at marketing itself. Simon finished by positing a 4 step approach to enabling the country to compete for global talent – Sell the positives, create a global talent sourcing model, adopt a data-driven sourcing strategy and push for cultural change.

Stefanie Zelinka then helped us to identify how best businesses can engage and retain said talent. She began by introducing us to ‘The New Normal’. Digitalisation and technological change are now a key strategic focus for all businesses, though some are at more advanced stages than others. Beyond technology, businesses are also attempting to institute more agile, adaptable methodologies and practices into their culture. But is it enough to merely copy and paste popular trends into existing structure, or is wider adoption required? Most companies have recognised the need for a less conservative working environment, but many attempt to point to tired initiatives such as ‘dress-down Friday’ or the ping pong table they put in the lunch room.

Firms must adapt across all aspects of their business service and this change must be adopted at the very highest level, sending an example to the rest of the business. But to merely see it changing from A to B is derivative thinking – more it should be viewed as a constant progression from the former to the latter. She then went on to argue that merely doing digital things is not enough, a firm must think digitally in order to be seen as truly disruptive and therefore attractive.

On the mobility front, businesses who have allowed their high potential talents to diversify their service across business lines become more effective leaders, thereby providing more value to the business as a whole, both financially and operationally.

It is also important to factor in a varied approach to bridge the generational gap. For the first time, 4 distinct generations will be represented in the workforce (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen 2020) each with their own diverse set of wants and needs. The firms who are best able to diversify their Talent functions to meet the differing needs will be the winners of the battle to attract and retain the best talent, both at home and abroad.

This topic is now more important than ever for German Financial and Professional Services. Businesses must recognise the need to change and deliver a diverse platform that will enable them to compete successfully in the global market place. To end on a quote from Rainer Strack, a Partner from BCG, ‘Employees are resources, are assets. Not costs. Not headcounts. Not machines. Not even the Germans’.