In banking, the complex search for data experts

These are new rare gems of finance. For several years now, major banks have been snapping up data expert profiles: data scientists, data analysts, AI specialists, etc. Demands are growing as the sector continues digitalization at full speed and tries to make better use of it. the new black gold of data.

“Banks have a huge amount of data to use and a large number of use cases. This is a great platform for such a profile,” explains Sylvie Blanchet-Vinatier, director of human resources for IT professionals at Societe Generale.

The La Defense-based group has made the use of data one of its strategic priorities to improve its service offerings as well as their use in terms of risk management and compliance. It currently has just over 350 full-time data analysts scattered across the bank and is looking to expand its ranks.

Profiles are hard to seduce

The problem with Societe Generale, like other banks, is that these specialists are in great demand, and not only in finance. Digital transformation and data influx affects all sectors and all types of companies. Gafam loves it very much. Just like startups who know that these profiles no longer necessarily attract big group sirens.

This phenomenon is confirmed by the Grandes Ecoles, who have recently launched special training courses. “The demand for such specialists is growing rapidly. The students we teach are spoiled for choice, they go where they want to go,” comments Erwan Le Pennec, Academic Director of the Master Data Science for Business at Ecole Polytechnique, who taught with HEC.

The two institutions created this program in 2016, which combines science and business education at the École Polytechnique campus and “accurately responds to growing demand from companies looking for the next generation of scientists and data managers.”

Special education

For the sixty or so students graduating each year, there are plenty of opportunities, but banking isn’t necessarily a major. A third of graduates go to the world of startups, another third go to consulting, and a third go to large companies.

However, Ecole Polytechnique is in the process of creating a new data science curriculum focusing on finance professions, still in partnership with HEC. “There is a specific need that we have identified with companies in this sector. And scientific models that need to be adapted to the banking business,” explains Erwan Le Pennec.

In addition to X, other Grandes Ecoles such as Ensae, Supelec and ESCP have developed specific courses. Despite this, demand continues to grow faster than supply. Banks sometimes have to look for specialists in other companies, which is not always easy.

The use of “requalification”

“It is often a young and unstable population with many opportunities. We try to convince them by showing them the prospects for development in a large group,” says Sylvie Blanchet-Vinatier.

To meet their needs, banks are also banking on “retraining,” the phenomenon of retraining their own employees for new tasks. Societe Generale is currently studying a certification training project in data science.