DEUTSCHE Bank CEO John Cryan has predicted a bonfire of banking industry jobs as automation takes hold across the finance sector.
Now digital business experts from the University of Salford Business School have backed up his claims. Writing in the Conversation Dr David Kreps and Dr Gordon Fletcher say that the banking sector will be ‘ground zero’ for job losses as technology begins to take over, with 50% of banking jobs being lost in the coming years.
Dr Fletcher said: “Those roles in finance where the knowledge required is systematic will soon disappear. And it will happen irrespective of how high a level, how highly trained or how experienced the human equivalent may currently be. Regular and repetitive tasks at all levels of an organisation already do not need to be done by humans. The more a job is solely or largely composed of these routines the higher the risk of being replaced by computing power.
“Many roles have already all but disappeared in the march towards a fully digital economy.
“The finance sector was seen as driven by human judgement and decision making. But slowly, it has changed. One-to-one conversations with your local bank manager were replaced by scripted call centre interactions during the 1990s.
“Artificial intelligence reduces the need for human work that requires analysis, consistent applications of decisions and judgement calls. These are pivotal actions for many legal and financial activities. Combined, in the background, with the blockchain — a publicly shared automated ledger of agreed contracts — arrangements that require some form of trust between two parties will also be able to be completed with little or no human intervention.”
Dr Kreps added: “We could be looking at 50% of jobs in the banking sector lost in the next five to 20 years. With artificial intelligence learning more about the impact and influence of every process each time that it happens, a bank’s efficiency should continuously improve, and profits increase, with fewer and fewer employees.
“Now, mobile-app-only banks, with no branches, such as N26 and Monzo challenge the traditional banking sector and its human resources legacy. Traditional banks are still largely oriented towards humans doing most of its work. In 2016, over 1m people, or 3.1% of the UK workforce were employed in the finance services sector, which is the biggest tax contributor to the UK economy and the country’s largest exporter. The impact of these changes will be felt across the entire economy.”