Fintech continues to dominate the conversation in financial services. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud computing and machine learning have created new opportunities for firms to gain market and client insights as well as reduce costs and risks all while driving greater efficiencies across their organizations.
But fintech is merely a tool. And like any tool, it is only as effective as the skillset of the craftsman who wields it. In the case of these new technologies, the industry's ability to capture the greatest benefit of this tailwind rests largely on having highly educated and experienced people leading the innovation revolution.
Recent studies highlight both the opportunities and challenges the industry faces. In one study, nearly nine out of 10 industry executives said distributed ledgers will be in regular use in financial services by 2026 – less than a decade from now. However, a different study identified a troubling gap in qualified talent to implement the technology, with 70% of respondents acknowledging that their organizations lacked the right people to do the job.
With new technologies emerging at a faster pace than ever before, this trend is not going to subside anytime soon. In fact, it will likely continue to accelerate in the coming years, and firms that embrace this dynamic will be in a stronger position to grow and thrive in the age of AI, robotics and other disruptive technologies.
There are many ways for the industry to solve the talent gap, but at the heart of the issue is the need to make a strong commitment to supporting education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at all grade levels. We know from the U.S. Department of Commerce that STEM jobs are going to grow at twice the rate as non-STEM jobs – so today's investments in preparing the workforce of tomorrow will pay dividends for many years to come.
Raising the next generation of STEM professionals will require leadership and cooperation across multiple stakeholder groups, from policymakers to government officials, educators, business and community leaders and, of course, parents. It will also demand our time through volunteer efforts at local schools and STEM-based programs, dedicating financial resources to support STEM initiatives and making a true commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion.
The Current Opportunity
The talent we need in 2026 is currently doing homework in grammar school and middle school; the opportunity to make an impact on their education is there if we choose to do so now.
We are true believers in the value of STEM education at DTCC. Our business is IT-intensive because we are responsible for processing more than $1.5 quadrillion in financial transactions annually and managing the associated systemic, market, liquidity and credit risk in order to protect the integrity of the global financial system.
Our understanding of the need for a deep talent pool is why we have prioritized STEM education as well as engaging with organizations like Change the Equation to increase skills-based volunteerism among our employees and to give us visibility into successful STEM programs. In addition, we are developing a comprehensive, multi-year plan for supporting STEM education that will mobilize our entire organization in all regions of the world to achieve this key priority.
Our Power to Impact
It is gratifying to see many of our industry colleagues making this same commitment to STEM because, collectively, we have the power to truly impact future generations of students. Our efforts today have the potential to inspire tomorrow's computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians and empower them to turn an idea on a drawing board or a thought in their imagination into the next great technological innovation.
While it's impossible to predict the future, we know two things for certain – the oncoming wave of new technological advancements will power the marketplace of the future and STEM education will be among the most critical enablers of this innovation. The growing talent gap can either be a headwind we fight or a tailwind we ride. The choice is simple.
This opinion piece by Michael Bodson originally appeared in LinkedIn Pulse.