Finance

Teach City workers emotional intelligence to secure post-pandemic, post-Brexit future, report says

The UK’s financial services sector should train their workers in “human skills” such as emotional intelligence to “future proof” the sector against future crises, an influential City lobby group has said.

“Companies most likely to effectively navigate difficulties such as the Covid-19 crisis are those led by emotionally intelligent leaders,” said a 14 April study from TheCityUK into the role financial and professional services companies can play in ensuring the UK’s post-pandemic economic growth.

“Empathy, self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation and social skills all lead to improved decision making, decreased occupational stress and increased personal and team performance,” the report said. “The industry should upskill staff to build creativity, adaptability, emotional intelligence… This will futureproof the UK domestic workforce against future crises and strengthen the competitive position of the industry internationally.”

It comes as working conditions in the City are once again under the spotlight. A leaked presentation by 13 Goldman Sachs analysts in March highlighted 100-hour weeks for the bank’s junior bankers, as well as declining mental health and threats to quit the banking giant as their workload surged. David Solomon, the bank’s chief executive, said it would hire more analysts, enforce a rule that gives juniors Saturdays off and shift resources from less busy parts of the bank.

Covid restrictions in the UK are, meanwhile, slowly easing, prompting the City of London to gradually reopen.

Both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have encouraged more staff back to the office since 29 March, and Citigroup is expanding a Covid-19 testing programme for its Canary Wharf headquarters in a bid to get more employees back in the office, FN has reported.

City firms, including Revolut and HSBC, are also rolling out home-working allowances for staff. A September survey of 250 financial bosses by fintech provider FIS found that three-quarters of investment banks expect to allow their employees to work from home for at least some of the working week after the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

The TheCityUK report, which outlined a series of recommendations for the UK’s economic recovery after Covid, called for companies to “take seriously the impact on employees’ physical and mental wellbeing” of longer-term home-working and to “reskill” their employees in digital tools to help finance staff navigate a more technology-focused way of working during and after the Coronavirus crisis.

UK policymakers should also “prioritise the regulatory pipeline to focus on pro-recovery and investment measures” in a bid to safeguard the country’s post-Covid recovery, it said.

“While there is a renewed sense of optimism about the future, the challenges the UK faces to recover from Covid-19 are not to be underestimated,” it said. “Setting out a clear path to recovery is essential, and at the heart of that is the need to make the most of the opportunities ahead.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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