Barclays: New Technology, Transferable Skills, and the Future of Talent


According to the World Economic Forum, the time that humans and machines spend on current work tasks will be the same by 2025. How will this affect the jobs of the future? We spoke to Barclays’ Gillian Gray and Benjamin Storey about how new technology will affect careers – and what skills employers will seek.

“New technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the Internet of Things are disrupting business models, increasing automation and changing the demands on some of our skills in the workplace,” said Gillian Gray, Head of Marketing Strategic Projects at Barclays. She adds that disruptions in the way we work are nothing new. “Every industrial revolution has caused disruption. Old industries are transformed or disappear and new ones emerge. ‘

What could these new sectors and jobs look like? There is no doubt that technology is playing an increasingly important role – both in the way people work and the industries they work for. While 10 years ago the world’s largest companies concentrated mainly on raw materials such as oil and gas, technology companies now dominate the Financial Times ranking. This shift affects the types of jobs available.

According to Gillian Gray, a continuous learning mindset is vital for employees.

We don’t yet know what capabilities some of the technologies developed today will leverage. So it is important to develop a mindset for continuous learning

Gillian Gray

Head of Marketing Strategic Projects at Barclays

Continuous and adaptive learning

“We just need to look at jobs that we’re really familiar with today, like social media managers, app developers, and big data analysts. They just started to exist 10 years ago,” says Gray. “We don’t yet know what capabilities some of today’s emerging technologies will use. So it’s important to develop a mind-set for continuous learning – but also to understand what’s happening to technology and adapt at the same time.”

Gray references her own career to demonstrate why this will be critical for employees in a number of industries.

“When I got into the workplace, there was no such thing as big data and platform business,” she says. “I decided to go back to school myself and did a Masters in Innovation. It really opened my eyes to the speed with which change is taking place and how we must all be prepared for it. Many of us may be retrained several times during our careers. ‘

This is where employers are increasingly focusing. Benjamin Storey, Key Clients, Funding Solutions and Business Insights Lead at Barclays Business Banking, said that at Eagle Labs, the bank’s network of coworking spaces, he has worked with startups that develop and develop innovative technologies that improve the quality of Life – or even create jobs and sectors that we have not seen before ‘.

In this context, attracting and retaining a skilled and talented workforce will always be one of the greatest challenges for any business, whether you are a large company or an early stage company. “Investing in learning and development opportunities for employees is more important than ever if companies want to remain relevant.”

The human touch

The increasing power of technology has raised concerns that many existing roles may be obsolete.

“Machines will certainly do some work, but new roles will be created,” says Gray. “What we don’t know yet is the volume and the speed and whether they will be the same. We also need to be aware that this affects people in different ways – for some, it’s good news because technology will expand their roles and take away some of the routine work so that they actually have greater job satisfaction. For others, technology will take away part of their role, meaning that they may do less skilled work or, worse, have no work at all. ‘

Hence, retraining is key for employees who want to stay relevant. But she adds, “It’s not just the technical skills that humans need as machines take on more tasks – it’s actually some of the more unique human skills like complex problem solving, resilience, and creativity. These are all really transferable skills that we can acquire over the course of our working lives. ‘

During COVID, colleagues had to learn how to be resilient, work flexibly and take care of their own well-being. We cannot stress these skills enough

Benjamin Storey

Key customers, financing solutions and business insights lead Barclays Business Banking

According to Benjamin Storey, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of soft skills.

The rise of portfolio careers

This need to be adaptable is also reflected in the rise of the “portfolio career”. In recent years, traditional ways in which employees have spent entire careers in the same profession – and even in the same organization – have been replaced by side jobs and flexible career paths.

This is a trend that is likely to continue, Storey says. Therefore, transferable skills are critical: “Over time, we will see more highly skilled individuals with the option to volunteer for a business for a day or two, either on the side or working for a variety of businesses. I think the ability to adapt and have skills that translate into a wide variety of jobs is key to the inevitable change we are experiencing in the workplace. ‘

Working methods after the pandemic

COVID-19 has accelerated existing trends and increased reliance on digital working methods. According to the World Economic Forum, 84% of employers are likely to digitize work processes and increase remote work.

Storey reiterates that the pandemic, which forced employees around the world to adapt quickly to the “new normal”, made it clear how important soft skills are: “During COVID, colleagues had to learn resilience, work flexibly and move around take care of their own wellbeing. We cannot stress these skills enough how transferable they are between different sectors and different types of roles. Focusing on the future as well as having more expertise will be crucial for many people as they advance their careers. ‘

Disclaimer of liability

Barclays plc published this content on February 23, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by the public, unedited and unchanged, on February 23, 2021 10:17:06 AM UTC.