Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. In today’s roundup, nearly half of employees aren’t expecting to return to the office in the immediate future, 51 per cent of millennials plan on spending their savings to help the economy recover, and social media hacking victims lost over £3.5million in 2020.
Workplaces switching to digital collections
Collection Pot has revealed a sharp increase in people collecting for colleagues leaving the workplace. Around 90 per cent of all digital collections set up through Collection Pot in 2021 in January and February were for leavers. Job switching generally is on the up in the pandemic with 6.1 per cent of people changing their jobs in the first six months of 2020. Half of these people changed not only their jobs but their industry too.
As well as people leaving their jobs, the pandemic has also changed how we work. Almost 50 per cent of the workforce did at least some home working in April 2020, 86 per cent of which was a direct result of the pandemic. This home working culture and difficulty in staff being able to contribute to an office collection in the traditional way means some leavers could miss out on being recognised and rewarded for their work said founder of Collection Pot Wendy Carter:
“Before Collection Pot, someone would get an envelope and we’d all put money in and sign the card. Nowadays, that isn’t possible with the majority of people working from home, and teams spread out. A person may be leaving their job for one of many reasons, but it’s vital that the person’s contributions to the business are recognised and colleagues have the opportunity to give their best wishes.”
4 in 10 employees aren’t expecting to return to the office any time soon
UK bosses expecting a return of their staff to the office post Lockdown are in for a surprise as almost 4 in 10 employees are “not expecting to return to the office in the foreseeable future” new research released today finds. A survey of 1,119 employees, conducted by Yonder on behalf of Cignpost ExpressTest, found that only 16 per cent of staff expect a full time return to the office when Lockdown ends on June 21st and 40 per cent of those surveyed expect their employers to make a return to the office voluntary.
Nick Markham, co-founder of Cignpost ExpressTest, said: “This research shows a significant gap between employers and their employees about how to return to the office in a safe way. Until the threat of Covid-19 has been completely eliminated, it is clear that a programme using PCR testing is going to be a critical part of any plan to safely return people to work. This will be the only way to give both employers and their staff the confidence to come back to the office and be able to work normally again.”
Household spending hits the lowest level since 2015-16
The recent ONS family spending survey has revealed that household spending dropped in the financial year ending (FYE) 2020, the period immediately prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Average weekly household spending in the UK was £587.90, down slightly from 2019 (£603.10 adjusted for inflation), despite average income increasing modestly during the same period.
Jason Cozens, Founder & CEO of Glint, commented: “Although these figures are pre-Covid, household spending hitting its lowest level since 2015-16 indicates an entrenched and clear decline in home economy, as consumers hunt for value. The historically low-interest rates on savings accounts ensures that savers are forced to entrust even more of their wealth to banks, with little hope of much return. With the threat of negative interest rates looming over us all, this situation is likely to worsen and our purchasing power to decline even further as inflation rises, quantitative easing continues and public borrowing, through the Covid-19 pandemic, begins to get repaid.
“The low returns on savings is one of the major drivers behind the rise in popularity of alternative currencies, such as cryptocurrencies and, increasingly, gold, which has seen a huge growth in Millennial support over the last year. Consumers and savers are no doubt attracted to some of the scarcely believable ROIs of cryptocurrencies, which soar in value in a matter of hours; but it is this very volatility than makes cryptos such as Bitcoin a risky store of value and an unviable means of exchange. The long-term performance of gold is something many have trusted in for centuries and, despite its recent fall in value, is still up almost 6 per cent over the last year – outstripping any savings account.”
‘Hybrid’ skills are reshaping job demand in the UK
Following the recent publication of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report, the specialised recruiter has released additional data spotlighting the growth in employer demand for new ‘hybrid’ skills across the UK.
Produced in association with Burning Glass Technologies, the research shows a definite shift in skills demand amongst employers in response to the adoption of new technologies and economic shifts experienced during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hybrid workforces (where some employees work remotely and others at the office) now seen as a permanent part of the employment landscape by 89 per cent of British employers surveyed, job advertisements are requesting more people-focused skills for technical roles and, conversely, more technical, and data-handling proficiencies for administrative and marketing job functions.
“Three of the top business priorities for the first half of 2021 amongst General Managers we recently surveyed include talent management (44 per cent), identifying new opportunities for business growth (42 per cent) and investing in new technologies (41 per cent). This combination of talent, business growth, and new technologies is not only informing recovery strategies for many companies at this stage of the pandemic but is also directly translating into new-look job descriptions and evolving skill sets. As much as the ‘anywhere workforce’ is likely to be a permanent part of the employment landscape moving forward, so too is demand for these new hybrid skills,” said Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half UK.
Over half of millennials plan to spend savings to help the economy recover
More than half of millennials plan to spend some or all of their savings to give British businesses and the struggling economy a boost, according to new research from NerdWallet. The personal finance platform commissioned an independent survey of over 550 millennial savers (aged 18-34). The research revealed that two fifths (40 per cent) of millennials have been spending more since the base interest rate fell to 0.1 per cent in March 2020. Meanwhile, almost 45 per cent have been saving less, following the Bank of England’s decision to cut the rates.
It also found that the average millennial has £8,675 in savings and that over half (51 per cent) of this age group plan to spend all or some of their savings in 2021 with a view to help British businesses and the wider UK economy recover from the pandemic. However, when it comes to long-term financial plans, over three in five (62 per cent) of millennials claim to have a clear savings strategy in place, with 56 per cent investing their savings in stocks and shares, or bonds and ISAs in 2021.
John Ellmore, UK director of NerdWallet, said: “2020 was a volatile year for savers. COVID-19, Brexit uncertainty and record low-interest rates forced many to re-evaluate their savings strategy, and today’s research shows the impact this is continuing to have. In the short term, at least, it seems that younger savers, in particular, are prioritising spending over saving.”
Boom in EU finance firms opening satellite offices in the UK driving sales for managed services
Managed services provider eacs is reporting a ten-fold increase in enquiries for support from businesses looking to open new satellite offices in the UK and UK based businesses looking to gain a footprint in the EU.
Specifically, the overwhelming number of leads coming into eacs are from financial services businesses looking to open offices in the UK for the first time. On the converse, the MSP is also reporting that many of its existing customers are looking to open in mainland Europe to ease the burden of the new regulations and paperwork requirements. A majority of these customers are predominantly in the pharmaceutical, agricultural and food markets who routinely have to export their products to Europe.
Kevin Timms, Chairman and Chief Executive of eacs, commented: “This uplift in sales opportunities is as unexpected as it is welcome, given the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Brexit and the continued situation concerning Covid-19. Only recently a Freedom of Information request from financial consultancy Bovill, found a staggering 1,500 money managers, payment firms and insurers have applied for permission to continue operating in the UK post-Brexit.
“What is now clear is that many of these firms will be opening up in the UK for the first time and that is leading to an uplift in enquiries and sales for IT suppliers such as ourselves.”
Social media hacking victims lost over £3.5million in 2020
AddictiveTips.com have analysed data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau on 43 police forces constabularies to establish which areas of England and Wales experienced the most social media and email hacking cases between January – December 2020.
AddictiveTips.com found that there were 13,343 cases of social media and email hacking recorded by 43 police forces from January to December 2020. During this period, April (1,449 cases) was the worst month, followed by May (1,358 cases). Whilst September saw the least number of cases at 870. Additionally, from the 13,343 cases, the accumulative financial loss that victims suffered was £3,573,079.
Metropolitan Police had the highest amount of social media and email hacking cases between January – December 2020, at a shocking 2,357 reports, the equivalent of six incidents per day in the capital. From the 2,357 cases, the collective financial loss victims suffered was £1.8 million – equivalent to £764 per case. In second place is West Midlands Police with 630 incidences of social media and email hacking reported in 2020. Victims who fell prey to cybercrime in the West Midlands incurred an overall monetary downfall of £382,400.
On the other end in 43rd position is the City of London Police who had only 26 cases of social media and email hacking.