AI threat to Scots finance jobs ‘yet to materialise’

Mike Stirton

A prominent recruitment firm for Scotland’s big financial industry has warned that the sector must embrace the wave of transformation resulting from artificial intelligence (AI) — but says the jobs market in Scottish finance is yet to be significantly impacted.

Scottish financial recruiter Core-Asset Consulting is reporting that only a very small percentage of Scottish job briefs directly referenced using AI tools or applications.

It has also recorded no evidence of AI being used, as yet, to replace workers — but has had indications from several blue chip clients that it may not be far away.

Core-Asset Consulting MD Mike Stirton believes that there will be winners and losers from the advance of AI – and that it is important that Scotland takes a united approach for the good of society and the economy.

According to trade body Scottish Financial Enterprise, the financial industry is the biggest sectoral contributor to Scotland’s economy, representing £13.6 billion or 9.2% of GVA. Scotland’s financial and related professional services sector employs 160,000 people – around 9% national employment.

Stirton said: “The impact of AI on jobs in finance is embryonic at this stage, but it is coming.

“While some roles may inevitably disappear, new roles will emerge as a result.

“This is what we have seen over the last couple of decades with other emerging technology in the sector such as financial applications and how data is used.

“Scotland has a flourishing tech sector, which has enabled it to become a world leader in fintech. Theoretically, this should put us in an enviable position to capitalise on advancements and change.

“It’s crucial that there is a joined up approach across industry, government and academia to ensure we are equipped to harness the change.

“That’s down to ensuring we have leadership from government, a fit for purpose further education – and that we improve our recent STEM track record.

“As an example of the opportunities coming, there will be a need for developers and engineers who can develop and maintain AI-powered systems.

“Financial services more generally will always need a human touch – as clients require the experience and judgment of top quality professionals at some point in the chain.”

Stirton also believes AI could create new job opportunities in compliance and cybersecurity – but that Scotland must be seen to be an attractive destination for talent and able to offer added value to ward off those looking to outsource roles.

He added: “Around 30 years ago we faced the digital revolution, which changed the status quo. We did a pretty good job at adapting what was a very traditional, established sector. There’s no reason we can’t be just as successful in the face of change this time round.”