Banks continue to struggle to attract top talent in the wake of the financial crisis. The consequences of this will be keenly felt as digital disruption undoes today’s business models. What if the source of that disruption was also offered the industry a way out of this quandary?

The international banking crisis of 2008 casts a long shadow. One of the most enduring parts of its legacy is found in the human resources offices of investment banks of all sizes.

As new Accenture research demonstrates, investment banks are still struggling to attract top talent in the wake of the financial crisis. The problem is particularly bad for large banks. In 2013, 12 percent of American university graduates saw banking as a top industry to work for. As of last year, that figure had fallen to seven percent. Meanwhile, the industry’s falling profits and tightening regulations are wearing on older professionals.

Declining interest from talent is never a boon for an industry. But this comes at a particularly tumultuous time for investment banking. New technologies and digital tools are changing the way work is done. Our research reveals that 87 percent of banking employees expect digital to transform the way they work in the next three years. Banks will need to embrace new ideas quickly if they want to outlast the coming disruption, let alone grow.

These two trends—the diminishing appeal of the banking sector to qualified job applicants and digital disruption of coming business models—are linked by a common connection to Silicon Valley. From Google to Uber to Apple, the tech sector is the origin of many of the ideas and innovations that disrupt other industries. It’s also where many new and experienced financial professionals are looking for their next career move.

This might make the tech sector seem like an enemy for the banking industry. But, as new Accenture Consulting research suggests, the tech industry also offers a solution to banking for its HR predicament. Intelligent use of tools like automation, robotics, and AI can give banks an edge as they seek to reverse brain drain and reintroduce innovation into their operating models.

Come back next week when we’ll go over five key steps for banks looking to combine humans with machines to succeed in the digital future.

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