AIF: Financial services industry dissatisfied with fresh grads

The study suggests that employers in the sector work with higher learning institutions to plug the gap


The financial services industry (FSI) is not satisfied with the quality of fresh graduates entering the sector.

A study by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) revealed that hiring managers often expect graduates to have skills that they may not have, even at entry-level positions.

“While entry-level hires felt they could ‘hit the ground running’ when entering jobs in the FSI in Malaysia, employers stated that these fresh graduates are frequently not industry- ready.

“Hiring managers often say they are unable to find the right people with the proper skills to fill up vacancies,” it said in a statement yesterday.

Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd head of group human resource Chew Siew Suan said in the report that training programmes which include “old-fashioned development” could provide the entry-level employees with the necessary knowledge and expertise.

“Young graduates may not necessarily have the right knowledge, expertise and experience that they can apply in the workplace immediately after they graduate.

“This is why we apply a combination of back-to-basics old-fashioned development with powerful, pragmatic and experiential learning that continuously taps into the bank’s business ecosystem in our Management Trainee programme to build future banking leaders,” she said.

AIF said the study is aimed at gathering insights on the talent gap that exists in the financial sector, while finding the solution in bridging the gap.

The study also suggested that employers in the FSI collaborate with higher learning institutions to plug the gap as a proactive and cohesive approach is needed from both sides.

The study involved 24 employers from four financial services sectors and professional bodies, 51 entrylevel employees, 10 programme coordinators and 95 Malaysian final-year students.

“Knowledge and skills were measured against six-level scale descriptors that determine respondents’ adaptability. The study is based on qualitative and quantitative insights from 180 participants,” AIF said.

Moreover, the report added that more initiatives are needed to improve soft skills such as leadership and problem-solving, more exposure on business and entrepreneurial skills, as well as improvement in lifelong learning.

On another note, AIF director of strategy, policy development and research Jaya Kohli said the report offers significant insights on challenges faced by the current FSI, while proposing cohesive approaches as a solution.

“What makes the report particularly important and compelling is that it offers some significant insights on the challenges faced by financial services institutions and higher learning institutions in addressing the talent gap in the sector, and proposes a more holistic and cohesive approach from all relevant stakeholders,” it said.