The transformation of the banking sector destroyed 18,000 jobs in 2021

    The transformation of the banking sector destroyed 18,000 jobs in 2021

    The banking sector which, according to the most recent data from the Bank of Spain, occupies more than 170,000 professionals, was for years one of the most stable and resilient at the labor level. However, in recent times, the drive for digitization, encouraged by the health crisis, has caused structural changes that directly affect the quality of employment. Added to this reality are aspects such as the already traditional processes of collective dismissals or the current demand for a salary increase to deal with the inflation situation, a situation that once again opens the debate between workers, companies and government.

    In addition, another of the main challenges in the sector lies in the restructuring of personnel caused by the incessant closure of branches. Currently, it is estimated that the bank branch network in Spain is below 19,000 branches, which means that there are fewer branches now than in 1976. Along the same lines, recent mergers and acquisitions have also accentuated the importance of managing relocation of more than 18,000 professionals who lost their jobs in 2021 alone. According to the Bank of Spain, the number of jobs destroyed amounts to 21,196 in the last 5 years and, according to CCOO, supposes the extinction of 115,000 jobs since the financial crisis of 2008. Susana Torres, head of the Banking area of ​​the HR multinational Synergie, acknowledges that “traditionally the banking sector has had facilities to incorporate talent but, in the future, it is essential that companies offer a competitive and stable environment that allows retain existing professionals and, in turn, achieve New additions who know how to operate in an environment that is especially marked by the digitization of all kinds of services.

    Thus, at the labor level, the changes that are taking place in banking present a strong challenge for the sector. In this context, Synergie’s HR multinational, which has an area specialized in banking, analyzes what are the main trends that will mark the professional future in the finance market:

    • Fintech boom and incorporation of digital profiles. According to the report ‘FINTECH companies: panoramas, challenges and initiatives’ published by the Bank of Spain, a total of 677 fintech companies operate in Spain. Although there are different areas of action, such as large companies, startups or consultancies, this exponential growth of digital financial services implies an urgent need to incorporate digital talent in the financial sector. Susana Torres from Synergie points out that “banks are betting on tech profiles and large companies have already announced plans to hire STEM professionals.” However, she acknowledges that “this trend is occurring in other industries and it is important to offer good conditions that represent a competitive advantage that prevents the flight of digital talent to other sectors.”
    • Bet on continuous training. As stated in the Collective Banking Agreement, the companies “will promote the carrying out of training actions that facilitate the development of skills and competencies and the professional career of their staff”. “In order to retain talent and increase competitiveness, it is highly recommended that companies establish training plans that promote employee promotion and, above all, that guarantee the ability to offer services adapted to the new needs of customers,” says Torres.
    • Promote the presence of women in managerial positions. Taking into account the data presented in the II Finance Observatory held at the beginning of this year, currently 51% of employees in the banking sector are women. Despite this, there is still a proven gap in female representation in managerial positions. Currently, it is estimated that only 17% hold senior management positions. “Gender parity in management positions improves the competitiveness of companies and, obviously, this reality also occurs in the banking sector” point out from Synergie. For this reason, from the HR multinational they recognize that “the banking sector in Spain has great female references and that is driving women to want to obtain positions of responsibility”.



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