Despite rosy reports about an improving economy and overall job growth in 2014, commercial banking in the U.S. lost 26,000 jobs last year, down 2% from December 2013. Worse yet, the sub-sector’s employment has declined for two straight years; 30,000 banking jobs were lost in 2013, down 2.3% from December 2012.
Commercial banking employment is relatively unchanged from a decade ago.
It isn’t all bad news for the financial services industry. Several other sub-sectors are growing:
- Insurance carriers added 70,000 jobs in 2014, up 2.9% year-over-year;
- Securities gained 16,000 jobs (+1.8%);
- Real Estate employment increased by 52,000 jobs (+2.6%)
And while other industries are reporting stagnant wage growth, financial salaries are up 3.2% since December 2013.
First on the list is the partnership between the Chief Information Officer and business leaders in establishing business strategies. Cathy Bessant, Global Technology & Operations Executive at Bank of America, makes the case for technology professionals and leaders as central to all aspects of a bank’s business.
Gone are the days of hiring tech leaders simply for their ability to write code. Now they need to be able to identify and understand a business problem and apply technology to solve it.
Read Ms. Bessant’s full perspective on 2015 technology priorities on American Banker | BankThink here.
Sixteen years ago today my manager and mentor took her life. She left behind a devastated family, grief-stricken friends and a workplace shattered by her sudden loss.
I’ve learned a lot about the impact of suicide on the workplace since that day in 1999. And what is most clear to me now is the extent to which the workplace as a venue to improve mental health and prevent suicide has yet to be realized.
Facts About Suicide:
- About one million people worldwide take their lives each year; 40,000 of those suicides occur in the U.S.
- The majority of deaths by suicide are among people of working age.
- In the decade following my colleague’s death, the suicide rate among working age people rose significantly, and since 2001, the highest rates have been seen in the 45-54 year olds age group. In 2009, the suicide rate in this age group was up 38% from 1999. In the same time period, the suicide rate in the 55-64 year olds age group rose 35%. The rates among 25-34 and 35-44 year olds have increased more slowly, rising 2.8% and 12.2%, respectively between 1999 and 2009.[i]
In many cases, we spend more time with colleagues at work than with family and friends. This means fellow employees may be able to spot changes in a co-worker’s mood or behavior – if properly trained to do so.
Most workplaces have the ability to disseminate messages quickly and effectively. Those communication vehicles could be used to educate about the importance of mental health, offer tools to assess mental health and refer those in need to proper resources.
Employee Assistance Programs and other referral resources are often already in place in the workplace and could be leveraged to improve mental health and in the prevention of suicide.
Christine Moutier, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, has published an article, “Tactics of the War on Suicide” that summarizes the issues and work being done in suicide research, prevention and support efforts.
Business leaders, managers and HR professionals can contribute to these efforts by raising awareness and promoting mental health in the workplace.
[i] Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Trends in Suicide Rates Among Persons Ages 25-64 Years, Both Sexes, by Age Groups, United States, 1991 – 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/statistics/trends05.html