Wanted: algorithm mechanic - Editor's Blog -

Task: tuning algos for profits

Skill set: the three Cs

Salary: 10% higher than Fangs 

CV: bankers may apply

We hear a lot about job losses in banking and The Banker’s research team estimates that since 2014 the leading UK banks have cut 19% of their staff from their global operations (see table). Most of these losses are from the restructuring and offloading of businesses. Now another wave is expected from digital transformation.

But what about the new jobs that the digital transformation will create? A report from HSBC called ‘Human advantage: the power of people’ attempts to define some of these roles. They all sound a bit outlandish  – mixed reality experience designer, for example, whose task is to design slick and intuitive 3D interfaces. Then there is the universal service adviser, who can switch seamlessly between virtual and physical environments, or the algorithm mechanic, who tunes algorithms to optimise profit and customer experience. 

Now you might think that to do any of these jobs you need to be both an IT geek and under 30. But the HSBC report identifies the three very human skills that are common to all these future jobs. They are known as the three Cs – curiosity, creativity and communication. 

The problem is that the three Cs are not for the most part taught in schools and universities. In fact, the recent emphasis on passing exams and rote learning has taken things in the wrong direction. Even the required technical skills are not taught much in formal education so banks will need to train people up themselves. Or recruit them from the big tech firms.

The good news is that mid-career bankers with a combination of financial and life skills may be suitably qualified. Key skills for an algorithm mechanic are “risk management, service design and financial literacy, rather than technological proficiency”, says HSBC. 

Sounds like you? Time to give HR a call.

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker. Follow him on Twitter @BrianCaplen

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