Skill Cushion

Skill Cushion:
Skills refer to the inherent ability of individual to carry out a task/set of tasks, in keeping with desired outcomes. Skills are the ability to apply knowledge in a practical/work situation. As industries grow and evolve, people employed in these industries also need to grow and evolve. This also holds true for banking in general and domains like retail banking, corporate banking and support functions in particular.  There is a huge skills gap that the BFSI sector faces today. For instance, the position of relationship manager in a bank requires a certain set of key skills, as detailed below:
Skills Required
Skills Gaps
Relationship Manager
-Detailed understanding of various
-Banking product available for the Corporate and product structuring.
-Institutional sales
-Understanding of the bank
procedures and documentation related
to each product
-Day to day interaction with the client
-General economic awareness and awareness specific to the industry of
the client
-Awareness of regulatory norms
-Very good communication skills as they are required to deal with senior
people from the company
-Ability to meet and chase targets

-Awareness about product structuring
-General economic awareness and
ability to establish a dialogue with the
-Communication skill

(Source: NSDC Report on ‘Human Resource and Skill Requirements in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance Sector, 2013.)

The above table very clearly suggests that while ‘small talk skill’ and ‘communication skill’ are generally considered easy, there is a lot of scope for improvement, in this area. Further, in order to get better appraisals, better growth and better rate of success, upskilling and re-skilling maybe the key. Consider this, Lee Slater, head of talent acquisition and international talent deployment at Standard Chartered banking group, sees a similar trend: “Where banks used to hire primarily banking experience, the downturn seems to have brought a focus on transferable skills with other sector experience. We are considering candidates with skills much wider than banking experience alone. When looking at talent and suitability, this means having to be more intuitive about fit, culture, adaptability and transferable skills rather than pure experience criteria.”
‘Niche’ skills like compliance, commodity trading, hedging, and Credit risk management etc., may lead to progress for employees in the BFSI sector. Even lingual skills like the knowledge of Mandarin, Japanese or German can be a part of the upskilling agenda. Career growth in the banking domain could require continuous upgradation of knowledge and skills in addition to good performance. This is especially true in the Indian context, wherein banking has been changing by leaps and bounds. In order to launch themselves to higher positions, and better projects, bankers will need to acquire the skills cushion. This can insure against career stagnation and help them overcome mid-career crisis. An effective way to up-skill, re-invent and upgrade would be through certifications, short-term courses, blended learning and training.


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