Wall Street Prep Survey Reveals 70% of L&D/HR Executives in Financial Services Identify Graduate Desk Readiness as a Critical Challenge, Along with Growing Need for Soft Skills Training.

70% of HR and L&D leaders indientify desk readiness as the most important issue to address in 2024 training plans, according to a Wall Street Prep survey.

70% of Learning & Development (L&D) and HR leaders identified gaps in desk readiness as the top priority to address in 2024 training plans, based on a Wall Street Prep survey of 260 L&D/HR executives in financial services. 65% said that improving soft skills was another growing imperative.

The Wall Street Prep State of L&D in Financial Services Survey was conducted in December 2023 and January 2024. HR and L&D executives from across the globe, working in financial services for global banks, boutiques, private equity firms, alternative asset managers, and sovereign wealth funds, were asked to respond.

“Despite massive investments in training programs, the harsh reality is that many juniors show up at the desk on Day 1 completely unprepared and require significant hand-holding from the business to be productive,” said Alex Gorbansky, Managing Director of Corporate Training at Wall Street Prep. “With COVID officially over and juniors now in the office, the pressure is on for L&D to re-imagine training around skill-based programs that produce as close to desk-ready analysts as possible.”

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One factor that may help bridge the desk readiness gap is the move back to working in the office, which has also impacted how training will be delivered. Over 76% of respondents said in-person training is now the preferred execution method.

While expectations from internal stakeholders are growing, survey respondents face budget pressures, with 70% of executives reporting flat or declining budgets. Half of executives see a Lack of budgets as the biggest obstacle to effective training programs.

Over a 5-year horizon, 81% of executives see highly personalized learning paths as the most transformative trend in the L&D space. AI will surely play an essential role in personalization and explains why 43% of survey participants are taking AI/ChatGPT seriously as they develop training strategies for 2024.

DEI has reached a massive scale over the past several years; 68% of respondents have launched formal training programs to recruit and support candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that over 77% of firms aim to convert the majority of Interns to their FT Graduate programs, with some companies having targets in place.

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