The transformative power of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) is increasingly being recognised in the financial services industry. Research increasingly highlights that equipping early career professionals with STEAM competencies leads to innovative strides in the sector.
A pivotal report by McKinsey & Company (2022) underscored that professionals using scientific methodologies in finance bring about superior solutions. They achieve this by using data-driven approaches, as demonstrated by PayPal, where machine learning algorithms are used to detect fraudulent transactions more effectively.
Technology’s role in the finance industry is expanding at a rapid pace. PwC’s ‘Global Fintech Report’ (2023) highlighted that 89% of financial institutions have accelerated their digital transformation efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the advent of AI-powered robo-advisors like Nutmeg, a UK-based online investment service, showcases the need for tech-savvy professionals who can innovate and drive such advancements.
Engineering principles inspire structural thinking and process optimisation, leading to efficient financial systems. The rise of fintech firms such as Monzo, which employs engineering methodologies to improve banking procedures, is a prime example.
Arts within STEAM promotes empathy, creativity, and effective communication, often overlooked in the numbers-driven financial industry. Research from the University of Cambridge (2022) highlighted the role of the arts in fostering innovative thinking in business settings. The Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘MoneySense’ initiative underscores the significance of these soft skills in creating customer-centric solutions.
Mathematics, the backbone of financial services, enables precise forecasting, risk quantification, and decision-making. In 2023, a study by the University of Oxford highlighted the increasing relevance of data analysis and predictive models in navigating market volatility, highlighting the importance of robust mathematical skills in the industry.
Programmes like NatWest’s ‘Entrepreneur Accelerator’, which offers early-stage businesses mentorship and digital skills training (2023), underscore the real-world application of STEAM in the financial services industry. Similarly, Lloyd’s ‘ReStart’ programme (2022) offers mid-career training focused on digital skills and innovative thinking, reaffirming the need for STEAM-oriented learning throughout one’s professional journey.
The financial services sector is in a critical phase of digital transformation, and the integration of STEAM into early career development is a promising strategy. STEAM isn’t just an academic approach but a powerful tool for driving innovation. As we forge ahead, cultivating a STEAM-oriented workforce is pivotal in navigating the complexities of the digital era and ensuring the industry is sustainable.
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A blog post by Hector Payne, Chief Learning Officer