A recent Computer Weekly article highlighted how, according to a leading London based investment management Careers Company young people may be missing out on rewarding IT careers in the financial services sector due to a lack of awareness of the opportunities and career pathways.
Investment 2020 who partner with firms to provide apprenticeships and careers information to young people have identified challenges for young people pursuing the IT career route in Financial Services as including:
- Perceptions that IT careers are more suited to men. A recent O2 study for example showed that 47% of 11 to 18 year olds think that the technology sector is more suitable for men.
- A belief that they don’t possess the necessary skills to get those kinds of jobs i.e. the belief that formal qualifications and purely technical skills are more important to prospective employers than the ability to solve problems creatively.
- A perception that an apprenticeship is not a real alternative to and therefore not as valuable as a university degree.
- A perception that the technology industry is already a flooded market and therefore competition will be too strong an opportunities too few with devalued rewards.
- Negative perceptions of the finance industry.
- Perceptions that you need to come from a “white, rich” background to get a good job in technology.
- A lack of awareness of available IT opportunities in the finance industry.
A Whole Person With a Good Attitude
Commentators in education, IT recruitment and investment companies however are among those hoping to counter mistaken perceptions and beliefs and to point out that employers are likely top place a great deal of value on young people with the right attitude, enthusiasm, good communication skills, and a range of other softer skills. This is almost the opposite to the purely technical skills based, introverted stereotype ‘techie’ of the past.
According to commentators such as Andrew Rydon, CTO of IT at Henderson Global Investors it is not only true that technology roles don’t just require technical skills but also the speed at which technology is driving change in the finance industry means that it’s the ideal time for young people to join IT roles within the industry.
Supported Apprenticeships A Great Alternative
Many industry leaders and commentators are now in agreement that apprenticeships offer a very good alternative to university for young people seeking work opportunities because they can help make young people more prepared for the world of work, can help them to build up networks to support their work, and they can help young people to develop a mix of important work skills early on.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Technical skills are of course important and valuable but when recruiting young people for IT and technology roles, it is also important to consider the value of the other skills they posses, their attitude and their enthusiasm when considering their value to your organisation in the longer term.
Remaining open to the value of diversity, and offering structured learning and nurturing environments and programs such as apprenticeships are great ways for the Financial Services and your industry to make sure best value adding talent is attracted, nurtured, and given the opportunities to progress.