But whilst the focus on talent remains, the landscape has slowly been changing as EU pay directives take hold, the economy improves and organisations jostle to stay competitive in the war for talent, says Andrea Eccles, chief executive, City HR Association.

This report takes a look behind the scenes at how City firms are responding to protect their greatest asset — their people — and assesses how technology is aiding their talent strategy.

A recent City HR survey, completed by over 50 banks and asset management firms, determined that the key challenges faced were talent attraction, employee engagement and employee retention. A key retention tool in many banks has traditionally been salary and bonus, but with a raft of EU directives scheduled to address pay and bonus structure in many disciplines within financial services, other ways of retaining top talent and keeping the City competitive has become equally important.  

“The war for talent continues as organisations become more adept at developing strategies to remain competitive”

This is where proactive talent strategies come to the fore, particularly relating to the employee value proposition. Methods have included more learning opportunities, leadership programmes, better defined internal succession plans, coaching or mentoring and individual career planning, as well as improvements in the workplace such as well-being schemes.

Underpinning this is having the right people policies, particularly relating to diversity and worklife balance.

New ways of finding talent
The upturn in the economy is not only generating more opportunities, but also highlights how organisations attract new talent. Whilst there is still a role for traditional recruitment consultancies and headhunters, more organisations are turning to online recruitment either through their own portal or via intermediaries such as efinancialcareers.com and LinkedIn.

This all begs the question, how are organisations tracking their talent? In March 2014, City HR asked 30 leading HR professionals this question and found that this ranged from spreadsheets to fully integrated HR information systems — or a combination of both.

By linking certain HR data, organisations are becoming adept at matching talent to opportunities or spotting those at risk of leaving, thus retaining high performers and the firm’s investment in the training and development of their people.

What is clear is that the war for talent continues as organisations become more adept at developing strategies to remain competitive and battle on to protect and monitor their most valuable asset — their people.