The Global Migration of Talent

Coronavirus is forcing businesses to rapidly adapt to a changing work landscape. More businesses are embracing flexible work options to cope with this most recent health crisis. In some of the leading financial markets in the world, firms are turning to technology to solve staffing issues, utilising remote working techniques to combat restrictions and enforced quarantine. This could have a profound impact on the global migration of talent for many years to come.

The role of technology

As a result of the Coronavirus, many of the world’s leading financial firms have been forced to adopt flexible working solutions on an unprecedented scale. For an industry firmly rooted in the tradition of desk-based work, this is a monumental shift. There is already established technology available to support flexible working, but this is the first time it has been tested to this extent. The result? Despite the fact that thousands of people are no longer commuting to the office, together we are proving that flexible working can and will work in the wealth management industry and should be adopted not just in response to a threat, but as best practise long term.

Migration during political shifts

The role of technology in creating a seamless move from traditional working structures to flexible working cannot be understated. As the global workforce undergoes further changes, with Brexit being one of the most prominent events, we will see technology take on an even greater role in the governing of talent in the wealth management industry.

Far from Brexit causing great upheavals and disruptions, the adaptability of the financial industry is such that there need not be any noticeable difference at all.The recently announced points-based immigration system post Brexit is set to favour highly qualified professionals which is unlikely to cause too many problems for global migration in the wealth management sector. But it is reassuring to know that European professionals can simply commute to work using their laptops, without the need to cross any physical or political borders.

This new migration of talent, rooted firmly in digitalisation, will be key to maintaining an influx of fresh, dynamic talent in London, regardless of the political changes we witness in the coming decades. Coronavirus has been the first major test for this technology and the results are extremely promising.

Freedom of movement

Talent in the wealth management industry is truly global. It is not unusual for an individual to move from London to Singapore, Geneva to Zurich or to New York in just a short period of their career. This freedom of movement has previously been crucial for the financial industry but we are now witnessing a new normal, based less on physical movement and instead on digital movement.

Evidence suggests that there is very little need for global talent migration in the same form as previous decades, wasting valuable hours and air miles – because this has environmental implications too – to access another pool of talent. By embracing flexible working, there is the opportunity for a fundamental change in the way that firms conduct business, including the expectations they place on their employees. This can only benefit the top talent in the industry who will have greater opportunities to work in the way that suits them best.

A flexible future

As the global markets adapt in the wake of Coronavirus, Brexit and other political and social shifts to come, we will see a greater move towards flexible working. It will not be just a temporary substitute for desk-based working, but a viable and preferable alternative. The industry has been slow to embrace digital solutions to global talent migration until now but in the wake of this year’s events there is very little need to return to the old ways. The global migration of talent has gone online.

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