Offshoring threat to UK financial sector discussed by employers and unions

Union leaders, employers and skills minister David Lammy have gathered today to discuss the threat of offshoring in the UK financial sector.

The finance sector employs more than a million workers and has grown by 5.5% a year since 2002. It currently accounts for 8% of the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Speaking at a seminar hosted by Unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation, debate centred around critical skills needs across the sector, highlighted in a report by the Financial Services Sector Council.

Lammy said: “The finance sector is at the heart of the British economy, and continued skills development in the sector is vital to our success and prosperity.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber encouraged employers to sign up to the Skills Pledge, and support the development of new apprenticeships. “The finance sector relies heavily on high-level skills, and unless we can meet this demand, we will lose our world-leader status,” he said.

“Where employers have worked with unions through our network of union learning reps to improve skills at work, the results have been impressive. But more has to be done. Training is needed throughout the finance industry – not just for managers and professionals, but also for junior staff, who want careers in finance, but are often shackled by dead-end low-paid jobs.”

Graham Goddard, Unite deputy general secretary, said: “Employees are without doubt an organisation’s greatest asset, and the skills implications of the globalisation phenomenon are considerable. It is vital that workers are given the opportunity to enhance their qualifications – only then will this country be able to maintain a competitive edge.”

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