Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. Today we look at the challenges to businesses posed by the digital skills gap, how one in five Brits have no financial cushion in the pandemic, and the huge increase in cyber attacks against UK businesses.
UK consumers unsure if the Fintech apps they use sell their data
ESET reveals that 63% of UK consumers use a free fintech application or platform, and of those, 63% do not know if the app they use sells their data, which is 13% higher than the global average.
Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET, said, “Our findings about consumers and their attitudes to data security reveal that many people in the UK are not taking the necessary steps to learn about the apps they are using and their privacy implications. These consumers may be vulnerable to cyber risks, and it is our mission to ensure that technology users’ most valuable information is protected with cutting edge technology.”
Huge Increase in cyberattacks against British businesses
New research from Mactavish reveals that 21% of businesses say they have suffered a cyber-related loss in the last three years, and just over two thirds (69%) say this happened in the past 12 months.
41% of businesses interviewed claim that since the Coronavirus crisis started, the level of potential cyber-attacks they are facing has increased. Of those businesses interviewed who have suffered a cyber-attack in the past three years, 69% said its impact was significant or very significant.
In terms of what types of cyber-attacks businesses say they have experienced over the past three years, 56% say they have received email-based scams, followed by 31% who say they have been targeted with malware, and 11% with potential data theft.
Banking, finance and tech employees to receive a pay rise
Over a third (34%) of employees in professional services – banking & financial services, accounting & finance, legal, technology – will receive a pay increase this year. According to professional services recruiter Robert Walters, this illustrates the economic value of the sector during the crisis.
In contrast, salaries will remain flat for professionals in sales, hospitality and leisure, high street retail, tourism, and travel.
1 in 4 UK workers are based in professional services, and 39% of professionals in the professional services sector state that they feel confident about job opportunities in their sector. Demand for talent in professional services is anticipated to grow this year, further pushing up salaries as companies compete for staff. Job vacancies are expected to increase within technology (+7%), accounting & finance (4%), procurement, supply chain & logistics (+3.5%), banking & financial services (+3%), manufacturing & engineering (+3%), legal (2.1%), business support (+2%) in this first half of the year.
Chris Hickey, UK CEO at Robert Walters said: “With a number of moving parts from the last year expected to settle within the first quarter of 2021, a higher level of certainty will become more apparent in the UK market for the year ahead. Macro-factors such as Brexit being concluded, the newly elected US President starting his term, and Covid vaccines being administered in a number of countries, will provide a positive springboard for the rest of the year.
“Whilst this first quarter may seem like a bridging point for the UK hiring market, for the remainder of the year we anticipate seeing pent-up demand for talent across a number of sectors. This pent-up demand will also see the return of broader salary inflation. As result, we anticipate that this salary inflation will be at a higher relative rate than the past 4 years since the Brexit vote was passed.”
The Challenges of the Digital Skills Gap
Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of businesses see a digital skills shortfall as one of the most significant challenges facing their company in 2021. This is according to new research from professional services firm, FDM Group. 77% of decision-makers admitted that they already have plans to increase digital skills training budgets this year to support continued remote working. Additionally, 70% plan to offer existing workers reskilling or refresher tech and IT courses, to help improve digital skills over the course of this year.
“The Covid-19 outbreak has wreaked havoc for businesses, with millions of workers missing out on vital digital skills development due to furlough and remote working constraints,” said Rod Flavell, CEO for FDM Group. “With the added pressure of strict lockdown measures forcing many people to juggle childcare alongside their day job, companies need to move quickly to increase digital skills provision as a matter of urgency.
“With remote working now a key part of our daily lives, the need for every employee to be digitally adept, computer literate and cyber safer should be top of the boardroom agenda. That’s why businesses should seek to hire in the latest IT talent, to boost technology skills within the workforce and help aid a speedy recovery in increasingly challenging times.”
1 in 5 British adults wouldn’t last a month if they lost their job
A report digital financial coaching app, Claro, reveals that 10.5 million British adults (or 1 in 5 of the UK adult population) have no financial cushion whatsoever – meaning they do not have enough money saved to support their household for even a month if they were to lose their main source of income.
This lack of safety net becomes more pronounced in the younger generations, as it found almost 1 in 3 (31%) of 18-24-year olds confess they wouldn’t have enough savings to last even a month if they were to lose their job. The data shows that young people aged 18-24 are currently struggling disproportionately, with a huge 41% of this age group in Britain having already experienced their income falling short of their living costs in the last year. Furthermore, 16% of 18-24-year-olds confessed they haven’t made any attempt to save money this year at all, making them even more financially vulnerable as the pandemic continues.
Rachel Harte, Head of Financial Planning at Claro, said: “Whilst we never want people to obsess about finances, it is concerning that 10.5 million adults in the UK have no financial safety net to fall back on – and even more worrying that it is the youngest generation struggling the most.
“With 1 in 3 unable to support themselves for longer than a month without their regular income, it’s good for Generation Z to start making good money habits early. A little forward planning goes a long way and can prevent unnecessary stress in the future.”