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Explaining the Economy: Discouraged Workers, the July 2019 Jobs Report, and the Financial Services Sector

Guest Author

By David Villaesca, Industry Solutions Manager - Financial Services
By Albert Qian, Content Marketing Manager 

Every month, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an employment report chronicling economic progress, from hourly wages to the unemployment rate. In this blog series, we'll be defining key terms from the report and deep diving into a specific industry. This month, we take a closer look at the financial services industry. Read the July 2019 version here. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a fresh slate of data in the July 2019 jobs report, showing 164,000 jobs added and a steady 3.7% unemployment rate. Despite recession fears, these numbers continue to show optimism that the market still has potential to grow. 

One notable data point in this month’s report was the number of discouraged workers, which numbered 368,000 and was 144,000 fewer than the same month a year ago. A discouraged worker is defined as a person who is available for work and has sought employment in the past year, but isn’t currently looking due to perceived poor employment prospects. According to the bureau, workers are discouraged due to circumstances that include a lack of schooling, an absence of training, the existence of discrimination, and age. 

Digital transformation’s emergence has created upheaval in various industries, especially as software has overtaken traditional ways of doing business. One such industry is financial services, which merits a closer look this month. 

Changes on the Horizon 
Financial services is a fairly stable industry, with unemployment currently at 2%. However, to really understand where business is heading requires a look under the hood. With new ways to assess investments, time the market, and trade assets, traditional institutions are facing an uphill challenge to stay relevant. Emerging technologies are also taking hold, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) expected to continue expanding at a rapid pace, leading to new methods and insights. 

What does this all mean? We sat down with David Villaseca, an Oracle financial services expert and customer solutions architect, to make sense of it all. 

David, it looks like there are a lot of changes on the horizon despite a solid job market. What does it all mean? 

DV: What we are seeing right now is a transition from traditional banking to digital banking, and that is going to cause some disruption. Many organizations are investing in digital transformation, with Lloyds and Santander investing US$3.7 billion and US$22 billion respectively over the next few years. While traditional banking roles will see a shift, there’s still an opportunity to engage with customers. According to a recent Deloitte survey, customers expressed satisfaction with their banking experiences, but did not feel particularly attached to any one institution. The survey contends that banks should strive for digital experiences that make deeper emotional connections.

It looks like software is being integrated into the financial services industry, as is true with most other sectors. How does this change how enterprises will hire? 

DV: There are a variety of different emerging software technologies making an impact. One is artificial intelligence, which is impacting firms through “adaptive intelligence.” By leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence in real time, it allows the organization to execute through intelligent sales, talent management, and resource planning to increase efficiency, lower costs, and improve the customer experience.  

How does this change what the average worker will face in the financial sector? 

DV: Even with all the new technology involved, banking customers still desire a personalized experience. As a result, associates will need to maintain their ability to address immediate customer needs while also learning how to create individualized customer journeys in what are known as “Experience Centers.” 

The average worker will also need to stay abreast of their own career journeys, since AI will eliminate 75 million jobs by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). In the same report, we learn that another 133 million jobs will also be created, requiring financial institutions to invest in talent management solutions.   

About David Villaseca 

David Villaseca builds innovative solutions and content for top EMEA banks and insurers at Oracle Consulting, positioning the cloud and apps. 

Awarded as a Forbes Top Leader Under 40 and recipient of The Coca-Cola Company Marketing Excellence Award, Villaseca has over 20 years of experience leading financial transformation and helping customers navigate a changing technology market. 

Do you have thoughts about where the financial services industry is headed? Send David a message to continue the conversation. 

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