"Smart" is the next big thing, according to various research and thought leadership groups around the industry.
In this case, smart specifically refers to analytic skills, and how they are aligned to become as transformative of business in the coming decade as the Internet was in the 1990s. An industry study conducted in Q4 2011 stated "organizations will look to increase investment in analytic talent and education." Within eFinancialCareers, for example, there are more than 175 jobs posted for "analytics."
Know how to see the big picture
Institutions are aggressively seeking candidates who not only analyze data but also see the big picture and know how to use those insights to benefit the organization. Financial institutions are leading the way down this path, taking the discipline of analytics into their organizations as a way to grow revenue and increase margins. Beyond the basic core elements of analytic activity (such as tax analysis, investor relations and revenue management), analytics has advanced into areas that grow revenue and improve margins in the organization.
Within the financial industry, analytics has demonstrated the ability to bring cross functional information together to drive value for other business functions such as sales, marketing, procurement and even IT, bringing previously unrealized value and growth potential to the organization. Financial data are rapidly being deployed outside its traditional scope, delivering greater value as a business function, as it often overlaps with analytics in other business areas.
However, a survey by Dimensional Research shows that sophisticated planning approaches have not been widely adopted, and that there is growing recognition among executives in financial management that this discipline is underutilized, and that firms must align their leadership, develop the necessary capabilities, ready the talent and build a culture where better and faster decisions, powered by analytics, are part of the firm's DNA. The result has been a growing demand for talent in the analytics arena.
Newly created or re-imagined positions are emerging in areas such as model-based forecasting, advanced fraud detection and capital portfolio optimization, among others. The resulting insight helps make company systems more effective and provides an unprecedented advantage. Businesses can apply this insight to instantly measure the effectiveness of sales and marketing campaigns or up to the minute sentiment of consumer responses.
According to one national recruiter, the search is on for individuals experienced with analytics, database marketing, risk, informatics, market research and consumer insights. Increasingly, professionals with skills that range from predictive modeling and statistics to actuarial and risk are finding an encouraging and friendly ear, and they are being sought after and interviewed for positions throughout the financial industry.