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Value is vital for financial services workers

The sector may focus on finances, but workers are counting on more.

Financial services industry insights from the American worker survey | Summer 2022 pulse

The financial services (FS) sector in the United States is facing labor shortages, an inflationary environment, cost pressures, and non-traditional competitors for talent. Amid this, FS workers have taken part in a “great reconsideration” of what they want from their careers, employers, and lives. For FS employers, this means balancing the contextual challenges with a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) to attract and retain employees. 

To help understand what American workers are thinking, in summer 2022 we undertook the third KPMG American worker survey. We surveyed over 2,250 employees with representatives from many sectors, including 13 percent from financial services (284 respondents). For the purposes of this report, “financial services” includes banking and capital markets, asset management, building construction or real estate, and insurance. 

Ten key insights from financial services workers


Employee commitment is connected to a compelling EVP.

While desire of FS employees to stay at their current organization may be 7 percent higher than other sectors, there are still two-thirds that feel neutral or have decreased their desire to stay. This presents an opportunity to review your value proposition to re-introduce it in a way that aligns to the needs and expectations of your current workforce and meet employees where they are.


Workers' quality of work and personal productivity could still be improved.

Forty-three percent of FS workers say the quality of their work has improved, versus 39 percent of all surveyed. Forty-five percent say their personal productivity increased over the past year, aligned to 42 percent of all.  While these results are good, you should not be complacent about the fact that less than half of your workforce have made productivity or quality improvements, and look at where tools, operating models, processes and more can be optimized to raise these results.


Communication needs to be targeted.

FS workers are satisfied with their organization’s communication efforts, with 74 percent of FS workers saying their organization provides them with opportunities to share their perspectives about their job and organization, compared to 67 percent of all surveyed.

These results are positive for FS and may mean more people have a voice and there is more transparency. However, while there is a vast quantity of communication, it is not always as effective as it could be. For example, when it comes to remote working, we see potential for better clarity. Communication effort needs to be maintained, but with focus on refining the channels, target audiences and messaging.  


Tools are abundant, but it’s time to streamline them. 

For 76 percent of FS workers surveyed, they say their organization provides modern digital tools that are easy to use and enable them to be more productive, close to 72 percent of all surveyed. This solid result is not a surprise, as the industry has invested heavily in technology transformation. The challenge now is taking that abundance of tools and building a better employee user experience through a centralized platform. 


While aspects of employee well-being are supported, there are other areas to look at. 

For 27 percent of FS workers, their mental health has increased, up on 22 percent of all other respondents. This may align with the fact that 80 percent of FS workers say they have access to adequate resources and programs from their organization to support their well-being, notably higher than 71 percent of all surveyed.

In terms of expectations, 76 percent say it's important that their organization creates an environment in which they feel comfortable addressing mental health. Seventy-three percent say it is important that their organization provides access to mental health professionals at no cost, while a significant 85 percent say it is important that their organization encourages employees to take paid time off.

For a sector known for its intense work culture, it is positive to see a slightly higher response than other sectors when it comes to mental health improvements. However, as mental health awareness grows, your organization will need to always be a step ahead of employee expectations. You will benefit from digging deeper into needs across more precise employee segments, as delivering in this area is not a one-size-fits all proposition.


Culture counts in the new reality.

FS workers are more likely than other respondents to say that culture at their organization has improved (38 percent versus 30 percent). For 34 percent, their happiness at work has improved, slightly more than 30 percent of all surveyed. In contrast, however, 25 percent say their happiness at work has worsened. Meanwhile, 75 percent of FS workers say they are able to manage the stress they have in their work life, compared to 70 percent of all. While culture and happiness have improved for many FS workers, FS organizations have not been able to take the spotlight off their talent and labor issues, or their employee value proposition.


Training can help address the labor shortage.

Seventy-six percent of FS workers say they are provided with the right training to be successful at their job, while 67 percent say they have open access to learning paths for alternative careers within their organization, notably higher than 58 percent of all.

The results for learning reflect smart investments FS organizations have made in learning programs and infrastructure. However, in view of the labor shortages, there are still opportunities to optimize and harmonize those programs to drive a stronger pool of talent for critical roles. Learning career skills in the ‘flow of work’ should be key to culture. 


Workers who are thinking about leaving are looking for key benefits.

Within FS, and on par with all surveyed, 31 percent of FS workers are actively thinking about, or looking to leave their employer. For FS workers on the lookout, the things that matter to them in a new employer are:

  • compensation (96 percent)
  • work-life balance flexibility (91 percent)
  • personal/sick time off (90 percent)
  • health benefits (90 percent)
  • remote work options (81 percent)
  • career development (77 percent)

Of these, remote work is significantly different to all surveyed—eighty-one percent versus 57 percent. Career development is also higher at 77 percent versus 72 percent. These could be two factors to consider to re-attract the third of your workforce that are looking to competitors. You need to truly understand what it is that they are looking for and rethink your employee value proposition to meet those needs.


Remote work is a drawcard for keeping employees.

For FS workers, the opportunity for remote work is not just something they are looking for in new roles, but it remains a key reason to continue at their organization. FS workers want to work fully remote at a notably higher rate than other sectors—forty percent versus 26 percent. Just 12 percent want to work fully on premise, versus 27 percent of all; 29 percent mostly remote, versus 23 percent; and 19 percent mostly on premise, versus 23 percent. The workers’ strong desire for remote work mixed with on-premise time points to a recognition that there are tasks that don’t need a commute, and others where co-location drives innovation. With this in mind, it’s necessary to refine your remote working culture and make sure it is truly fit for purpose for both the workers and the business.


Financial services workers expect more impact from ESG inititatives.

For 69 percent of FS workers, it is important for their organization to respond to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Sixty-three percent say the effort their organization is making on ESG issues is making an impact on society, up on 58 percent of all. When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, 72 percent say their organization meets their expectations. Half (50 percent) of FS workers say they personally benefit from those DEI initiatives.

We should be celebrating the commitment of FS organizations that have made ESG and DEI a priority. Note that it is worth exploring the 50 percent who are neutral or say they do not benefit from DEI initiatives to unearth any oversights of particular groups or experiences. 

Financial services organizations need a culture in which mid-level leaders see the value in developing talent to export to roles across the organization.

Evan Metter

Principal, Human Capital Advisory, KPMG LLP

32% of FS workers intend to look for a job with another company within the next year.

Dive into our thinking:

Key financial services data from the American worker survey results 2022

Download the infographic

In the context of today’s labor force challenges, expectations for more learning, career pathways, well-being, and remote work, there is no room to be complacent. What is clear is that the American financial services worker wants genuine value from their organizations—and not just financially. The challenge is to keep stepping up to meet them—with the reward of keeping the best of talent in return. 

Explore more

Looking for more: Employee expectations are on the rise

Insights from the American worker survey | Summer 2022 pulse

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