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HSBC previews the banking staff of the future

The digital revolution in banking is set to create previously unknown jobs, and HSBC has outlined three of the job roles that will be created in the future

HSBC has predicted some of the future job titles of its staff as it transforms into a digital-first operation.

With the bank currently recruiting more than 1,000 staff in roles supporting its digital plans, job titles such as “mixed-reality experience designer” and “conversational interface designer” might not be that far away.

When businesses, government and academia allay fears of jobs losses as a result of the arrival of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with claims that they will be replaced by new roles, there is generally scepticism. It is difficult to imagine new jobs being created at the same rate and often hard to pinpoint what these jobs will be.

But according to a US Department of Labor report, 65% of schoolchildren will eventually do jobs that don’t yet exist.

“Many of the roles and job titles of tomorrow are unknown to us today,” said Josh Bottomley, global head of digital, retail banking and wealth management at HSBC. “One thing is certain, however – artificial intelligence will not replace human intelligence. Blending the best technology with the power of people will be the difference between good and great when it comes to customer experience.”

The positive effects of technology doing jobs previously done by humans is often lost amid fears. Tom Cheesewright, co-author of the report Applied futurist, said the role of humans and robots in tomorrow’s workforce has been debated the world over, with “the positive impacts of automation largely overlooked”.

“While machines will continue to take on the more robotic processes, increased emphasis will be placed on our ‘most human’ resources; qualities like curiosity, creativity and empathy will continue to set us apart from machines,” he said.

HSBC has predicted six roles of the future. For example, the mixed-reality experience designer will be tasked with making mixed-reality work to improve the application of mixed-reality technology in the workplace. Mixed reality technologies, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, bring the virtual and real world together using holograms.

The bank also described the skills the person taking such a role would possess. “Designing these complex three-dimensional interfaces and making them slick and intuitive will be a major new employment area for the future, requiring skills in aesthetic design, branding, user experience and 3D mechanics,” it said.

Bottomley said employers have a huge role to play in helping people to continue their personal development, including working with existing staff to upskill them.  

The other jobs of the future identified were: algorithm mechanic, conversational interface designer, universal service advisor, digital process engineer, and partnership gateway enabler.

Meanwhile, coexisting with robots at work may soon go beyond interacting with software, according to Chetan Dube, CEO at AI software maker IPSoft. He said that, by 2025, people will walk past an android in the corridor at work and believe it is human.

In June, HSBC took the use of AI a step further with the introduction of a humanoid robot into its branch on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Pepper, as the robot is known, will help customers with banking services that are automated.

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