SFE Young Professionals: Don’t be afraid to embrace change

Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals Paul Baird and Emma Boffey, who both work at international law firm CMS, which specialises in supporting the financial services industry across Scotland, UK and globally, reflect on the latest SFE Young Professionals Business Exchange event and its key messages: don’t be afraid to embrace change across the industry and in your careers.

Summer may have finished, but following a successful launch earlier this year, SFE Young Professionals is continuing its Business Exchange series into the autumn and beyond.  These informal lunchtime gatherings, hosted by SFE young professionals themselves, provide an opportunity to learn about various roles within the financial services industry.  SFE Young Professionals gathered at Barclays in Glasgow to hear from four speakers, who all resonated with the theme of change.  This event coincided with Barclays’ Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Week, a full week of sessions designed to increase awareness and promote their D&I networks and Citizenship agenda, and is sponsored by Emerge (part of Barclays’ Multi-Generational network).

Lynsey Hutchison, who leads the Barclays’ Emerge Network in Scotland, introduced the event with a short video on disruption and technological change in the industry.  Complementing that change, Barclays set out how they place ever greater importance on the growth of young people in their organisation, seeing this as critical to the growth of their business in Scotland.  By 2025, Barclays believe 75% of their workforce will be millennials and with disruption everywhere, how we collectively help future leaders emerge across the industry is more important than ever.

 Scarlett Perkins and Nico Hampton, who both joined Barclays as graduates, spoke about their career paths and varied roles held so far in the industry.  Both Scarlett and Nico hadn’t necessarily planned a traditional career in financial services, but through pursuing opportunities available to them, have both found themselves in fast-paced and constantly evolving roles in technological change and digital compliance: roles that would perhaps not have existed in the financial services world in Scotland a generation ago.  Their careers so far have also seen them both emerge as young leaders in the D&I agenda, working with other organisations to establish best practice and help others feel enabled to bring their entire selves to the workplace.

The event concluded with an audience Q&A, which Andy Cunningham, Managing Director of Barclays in Scotland, also participated in.  The ongoing work of the industry to increase opportunities for school leavers and modern apprentices in financial services in Scotland was discussed, along with the challenges in having enough digital agility in large financial services organisations, in order to embrace new customer-facing technologies quickly. 

The overall theme of the event was recognising the scale and pace of change the industry is currently going through, but not being afraid of embracing this: all speakers had, in their respective careers, faced some element of change but had met this head-on, reaping the opportunities and rewards that come from not being afraid to take a new direction. 

The SFE Young Professionals Business Exchange event was hosted by Barclays on 9 October 2018. Follow SFE YP on LinkedIn for upcoming events and news.