Is a customer care job good

Wanted: sales, customer care

The financial sector is in a state of upheaval. What job opportunities there are and why it is difficult to find suitable talent in this sector in particular was discussed on Monday at Allianz Elementar.

A lot is pushed back and forth internally in the banks, but there are no large-scale waves of layoffs in Austria (at the moment), was the basic tenor of the panel discussion on "Job crisis in the financial sector: where are opportunities", to which the Finanzmarketingverband (FMVÖ) on I was invited to Allianz in Vienna on Monday.

The fact that the workforce at Austrian banks is not being significantly reduced is also due to the fact that investment banking in Austria was not as exaggerated as in the USA, according to Peter Bosek, CEO of Erste Bank for Retail, Private Banking and Housing. "That's why this business can't collapse like that."

"Back to the roots"

Nonetheless, the financial crisis represents a break in the system for the banking sector. "Back to the roots" is the motto of the banks, where the main business is again carried out with customers and not with other banks, according to Bosek. Bosek is convinced that the banks' business models will change over the longer term, but they will have to be structurally different. "In any case, the days of investment bankers are over for the time being," said Bosek.

Less revenue, less damage

The insurance industry sees itself far from a structural crisis, "because the business model is not being called into question," said Wolfram Littich, CEO of Allianz Elementar Versicherung. In some cases, the income has decreased somewhat, but "curiously," so have the claims, according to the expert. The industry currently employs 26,000 people, another 3,000 are being sought and are now difficult to find, adds Littich. The fact that the sales staff still has a wild boar image certainly contributes to this, according to Littich. Bosek adds that customer service also has an image problem. A lot is being done at Erste Bank to correct this picture.

There is no offspring

Günther Tengel, owner of Jenewein & Partner, sees another reason for the recruiting difficulties in the fact that the insurance division has not invested enough in employee development. "And now the insurance industry lacks the next generation." But that is not a result of the crisis, but is also due to the job profiles that are being put together ever tighter, although that is not really needed. In many insurance companies, the mind is not clear for a meaningful restructuring and necessary cost cutting measures. "Savings are made on many levels, but often not on the right ones," says Tengel.

Guido Eperjesi, Manager at Deloitte Human Capital, sees one reason for the challenge in finding suitable sales employees in the lack of supplies from the training centers. "Only for two or three years has there been anything to do with sales at the business school," says Eperjesi. At the same time, he criticizes the narrow recruiting pipeline.

Sales on an equal footing

"Sales should reflect the structure of our society so that sales on an equal footing are possible. However, people with a migration background are still not to be found in this area," adds Eperjesi.

For Joachim Kappel, Managing Director of Joachim Kappel Management Consultants, too narrow requirement profiles are part of the problem. "Because subject-specific prior knowledge is not the decisive factor for many positions, it depends on the personality." And right now people are wanted who can openly address the difficult situation without creating a dangerous mood, says Kappel.

Marketing in, sales out

"Only the personality is not so easy to read out of the curriculum vitae," countered Littich. The job profiles are by no means narrow in customer service in particular, and both university graduates and those with an apprenticeship degree are sought after. Nevertheless, certain jobs, Littich mentions marketing as an example, are in particularly high demand, while others (sales) are not at all.

Tengel believes that more honesty is required from all sides. “This includes communicating job descriptions as they actually are, even during training. And companies should be clearer about the fact that hardly anyone can match their ideal profile. "(Gudrun Ostermann / DER STANDARD; print edition, May 9/10, 2009)