How is the leasing industry gearing up to meet one of its biggest challenges – the need for talent?

The leasing industry – which has traditionally been dominated by long-standing professionals who merely ‘stumbled’ into it and made a career out of it – is now grappling with its latest challenge – a shortfall of young industry specific talent.


Manisha Jha

Manisha Jha

New Blood Journalism Intern at The Leasing Foundation
Manisha has seven years’ experience in financial journalism in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai writing for The Hindu, Asian Age and the Hindu Businessline. She received the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Scholarship from the Economist, and was selected for a IMF/Thompson Reuters workshop on economic reporting. Manisha has reported on markets, M&A, investment banking, property, IT and banking, all using social media and web tools to research and break market-moving stories.
Manisha Jha

Introduction from Editor PETER THOMAS

In January 2015 we appointed Manisha Jha, City University postgraduate student Manisha Jha (uk.linkedin.com/in/jhamanisha) as the inaugural New Blood Asset Finance Journalism Intern. 

The Leasing Foundation New Blood Asset Finance Journalism Internship is intended to start a wave of professional journalists working to keep the world informed, educated and aware of the financing landscape. The focus is on modern, online, data-driven, meticulously-researched, insight-based and impactful journalism in leasing and asset finance. The aim of the programme, funded by Roger Skinner, CEO of Maxxia, is to support emerging young, technology-oriented, well-informed journalists like Manisha who will create stories about the industry that will be read by global audiences beyond the industry itself. Manisha will learn directly from the experts, write stories that inform and educate about the leasing and asset finance landscape and so help us accurately frame public and political debate.

Roger Skinner, Maxxia’s CEO, says “The Maxxia business approach is based on transparency, collaboration, trust and building real relationships. I want to ensure that these values, and the great contribution that the leasing and asset finance industry can and does make to supporting economic growth, is reported accurately, intelligently and with real purpose so that all businesses and communities gain a greater understanding of the role that the industry plays. The New Blood Internship is our way of doing that.”

Manisha has seven years’ experience in financial journalism in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai writing for The Hindu, Asian Age and the Hindu Businessline. She received the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Scholarship from the Economist, and was selected for a IMF/Thompson Reuters workshop on economic reporting. Manisha has reported on markets, M&A, investment banking, property, IT and banking, all using social media and web tools to research and break market-moving stories.

This is one of a series of stories that Manisha is creating in collaboration with the Leasing Foundation Fellows, Governors and other industry experts, that explore the changing landscape of leasing and asset finance. Please read her work, and contact Manisha with other stories that she might work on at manisha.jha@leasingfoundation.org

Who should be interested in this? Anyone interested in education and development in the leasing and asset finance industry.

 

How is the leasing industry gearing up to meet one of its biggest challenges – the need for talent?

“Can we make leasing an exciting career option for today’s youngsters? That is one of the key question’s facing the industry today.” – Dan Levy, Head of Financing Solutions at BT Global Services.

The leasing industry – which has traditionally been dominated by long-standing professionals who merely ‘stumbled’ into it and made a career out of it – is now grappling with its latest challenge – a shortfall of young industry specific talent. Currently, industry leaders speak of a gap between people who sell commoditized products and people who really know what is happening in a deal. “There is a gap in the market where we could do with people who are not just intelligent, business savvy and good at selling, but also good at understanding the commercials of the deal. This isn’t really there at the moment,” says Levy.

 Focusing on solutions

According to industry experts, one explanation for the shortage of talent is that the best applicants have been attracted to other industries that offer better pay packages.

Dan Levy says “If you wanted to earn good money and were interested in finance you wouldn’t join the leasing industry. Until the leasing and asset finance industry can present itself as an attractive career option the problem will remain – it all comes down to what you pay people.”

But, according to Rachael Woods, Marketing & Communications Director, CIT Vendor Finance UK , this is not the only reason for a shortage of talent. The leasing and asset finance industry has evolved to providing customer solutions, but many job applicants still simply focus on the fundamentals of financing. This leads to a lack of people who think in ways that will drive the industry forward.

Bridging the talent gap

It is against this backdrop that The Leasing Foundation is stepping in to look at how this talent shortfall can be bridged to nurture the industry leaders of tomorrow.

According to Andrew Denton, COO of CHP Consulting and CEO of the Leasing Foundation, the main problem is “about perception and understanding of the leasing industry, and we at Leasing Foundation are doing a number of things to change that,” he says.

Alongside organising conferences and events with high profile speakers who can make a broader audience aware of leasing and asset finance, the Foundation is also creating educational tie-ups that extend learning opportunities for people in the industry and also serve to attract new talent into the industry.

COO of The Leasing Foundation Peter Thomas, says “The new MA in Leasing and Asset Finance is unlike anything the exists at present. The programme is part-time and intended for those working in organisations that can facilitate and benefit from work-related projects, which form the backbone of the programme. The programme is delivered online, with offline support from academic supervisors and mentors from the Leasing Foundation. The emphasis in the programme is on providing learners with a resource for developing their careers in the industry and so there is a focus a on creativity, leadership and innovation.” A case in point being The Leasing Foundation’s partnership with Falmouth University to provide certificate, diploma and masters’ courses in leasing and asset finance – but the Foundation also has established relationships with other higher education providers including Brunel University in London and Newcastle University.

The Foundation is also working with the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) to work on an industry milk-round project where representatives from the Leasing Foundation pitch career options in leasing to undergraduate students and recent graduates in business and finance.

Reaching out

“We want to reach out to recent graduates and make them aware of the existence of leasing industry with the aim of bringing more people into this field and increase diversity and inclusivity in terms of gender as well into leasing,” says Andrew Denton.

Peter Thomas adds that the Foundation also has aspirations to look beyond higher education towards alternatives such as apprenticeships that provide routes for those who don’t want to study business and finance at university to experience the industry. “Apprenticeships offer an alternative route into the industry beyond the usual academic pathway,” he says.

 Developing leaders

These projects also complement the Foundation’s ongoing leadership programme – the Leasing Foundation Future Leaders – which helps the most promising leasing industry professionals develop into leadership roles in their careers.

“The Future Leaders programme offers a fantastic opportunity not only for the programme participants but also for the industry. The Leasing Foundation has created a progressive, ‘cross business’ development programme which truly maximises each of the participants potential, while building a talent pipeline for the future,” adds Rachael Woods.

CC BY-SA 4.0 How is the leasing industry gearing up to meet one of its biggest challenges – the need for talent? by Manisha Jha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.