Junior employees are not ‘desk ready,’ financial services training firm says

Dive Brief:

  • New junior employees to financial services firms are not “desk ready” — meaning they do not have the skills or preparation to hit the ground running — according to 70% of HR and L&D leaders surveyed by Wall Street Prep, a training provider for the industry.
  • A majority of the 260 leaders surveyed said that improving soft skills for this group was “imperative.” Moving back into the office may help with these goals, Wall Street Prep said, though leaders reported flat or declining budgets for training.
  • New employees often “require significant hand-holding from the business to be productive,” Alex Gorbansky, managing director of corporate training at Wall Street Prep, said in a Feb. 16 statement, especially now that many workers are back in the office.

Dive Insight:

Concerns about the readiness of younger employees for the workplace are not limited to the financial services industry, other surveys have shown.

Thirty-one percent of managers surveyed by Resume Builder said they avoid hiring Generation Z workers, and nearly all surveyed said they experienced a Gen Z candidate acting inappropriately during an interview. Examples of such included poor communication skills, inappropriate dress and poor eye contact — all of which are lessons often learned through in-office experience, disrupted by the pandemic.

A report from edX revealed that employer-offered L&D may be especially key for these younger workers, as many of them see their employers as post-secondary learning institutions, particularly for training in professionalism and etiquette. That’s because many young employees are entering the workforce after college without previous workplace experience, according to one expert who spoke to HR Dive.

However, other surveys show that L&D budget may be an issue, as indicated by Wall Street Prep. More than half of L&D pros surveyed by Virti said budget issues were a top challenge for them, according to a May 2023 report, as many employers may still operate under the idea that learning is largely a compliance function. 

Still, various studies have indicated that training in soft skills remains a key potential offering by L&D departments, especially amid automation in the workplace.