As part of the series of insights around our 2023 Financial Services Salary Survey, we have analysed the current UK hiring market to understand the trends, challenges and opportunities for the year ahead. Read on for our UK market insights and overview.
In another year marked by instability and high demand for hiring, the Financial Services sector has seen a growth of 2% in the professional body, and a total of 12,358 professionals making a job change. It is encouraging to see growth in terms of professionals choosing to enter the sector, and equally unsurprising to see the number choosing to make a change, given how buoyant the current employment market has been. It is likely that the pandemic has had an impact on the length of median tenure in the sector, as many people’s priorities changed post-covid and the great resignation led to an unprecedented rise in the number of professionals opting to make a career move industry-wide. Moreover, the gender diversity split within the sector appears to be moving in the right direction, as the 50-50 split is getting closer and closer. This could be an early indication that the balance of professionals in the industry is beginning to improve, as many larger organisations have made movements to address the significant gender imbalance within the industry and within certain roles in particular (such as IFAs).
Looking at the locations in which financial services professionals are working, we can see that although London is still where the overwhelming majority of the workforce is basing itself, they are seeing below-average growth when compared to other locations in the top 10. Even though there continues to be a very high demand in London, this location has obviously struggled to grow. This indicates a shift in working and business practices within the industry and can perhaps be accounted for by a change of priorities post-pandemic. It could be argued that, given the rising popularity of hybrid and remote working and a higher prioritisation of work-life balance, London is no longer the definitive place for Financial Services professionals, who are instead looking for work in other locations. This is reflected in the increasing popularity and demand for professionals in areas outside of London, and salaries appear to be increasing in these areas because of this.
Birmingham and Leicester are the two highest areas for growth in the market and are still seeing very high demand, so we aren’t expecting to see this slow down any time soon in the near future. Sheffield, Glasgow, and Bristol are also seeing above-average rates of growth; however, Sheffield and Glasgow are seeing a relatively low hiring demand. All of this contributes to the picture we are seeing across the board: that companies are slowly becoming less married to London as the sole and prime location for Financial Services businesses and professionals.
|LOCATION||PROFESSIONALS||JOB POSTS||HIRING DEMAND|
|London Area||26,849 (1% increase)||1,210||Very high|
|Manchester Area||3,556 (1% increase)||148||High|
|Greater Leeds Area||2,535 (1% increase)||108||High|
|Greater Glasgow Area||2,010 (3% increase)||71||Moderate|
|Greater Bristol Area||1,629 (3% increase)||62||Very high|
|Greater Edinburgh Area||1,524 (1% increase)||69||Very high|
|Birmingham||1,429 (5% increase)||77||Very high|
|Greater Liverpool Area||1,346 (1% increase)||31||Moderate|
|Greater Leicester Area||1,178 (5% increase)||48||High|
|Greater Sheffield Area||1,078 (3% increase)||34||Low|
As the employer with the highest number of professionals in the sector, the drop in growth (5%) from HSBC is somewhat surprising. However, it is clear that they are not actively or aggressively recruiting, with only 4 live job posts, and their attrition rate of 9% is by no means high in comparison to other companies in the top 10. So, it could be that HSBC’s shrinkage is the result of a managed downsizing, or perhaps a result of moving some operations elsewhere.
St James’s Place and Owl Financial have been seen a significant decrease in professionals in their businesses, and both high attrition rates: the former seeing 20% and the latter 12%. However, neither seem to be actively recruiting either, as St James’s Place has only 1 active job post, and Owl Financial have 0. Seeing by far the highest growth overall, however, is Evelyn Partners, who have seen a massive growth of 43% year on year, and equally have an attrition rate of only 4%. This is a result of the rebrand of many Financial Services companies who have chosen to conglomerate into one large organisation (the largest of these being Tilney).
|HSBC||625 (5% decrease)|
|Lloyds Banking Group||500 (1% increase)|
|Barclays||390 (2% increase)|
|Santander UK||307 (2% increase)|
|Nationwide Building Society||276 (3% increase)|
|St James’s Place||274 (8% decrease)|
|Owl Financial||240 (7% decrease)|
|Sky||231 (5% increase)|
|Amazon||222 (20% increase)|
|Evelyn Partners||218 (43% increase)|
We are seeing a trend of a variety of job titles being used to describe what is essentially the same role; this undoubtedly accounts for the low volume of IFAs shown in the data above. The IFA job title is very specific and is covered under the alternative titles we can see in the table, such as ‘Financial Advisor’ and ‘Chartered Financial Planner’. Equally, in the case of the prevalence of the ‘Associate’ title in the fastest growing titles, this could be accounted for in that these titles may have historically been described as ‘trainees’, but there has been a shift in the language the sector is using to describe job roles.
Most Popular Titles
|TITLES||PROFESSIONALS||% OF TOTAL|
|Independent Financial Advisor||5,139||6%|
|Head of Compliance||3,703||4%|
|Senior Financial Analyst||2,778||3%|
|Chartered Financial Planner||2,547||3%|
Fastest Growing Titles
|TITLES||1 YEAR GROWTH||PROFESSIONALS|
|Associate Financial Advisor||37%||144|
|Associate Financial Planner||27%||104|
|Senior Financial Planning Analyst||13%||378|
|Regional Compliance Manager||8%||144|
|Employee Benefits Specialist||8%||175|
|Senior Manager Financial Planning Analysis||6%||359|
|Contract Compliance Manager||6%||262|
|Financial Planning and Analysis Manager||5%||1870|
|Financial Planning Analyst||5%||1796|
According to data from Talent Insights, these are the top 10 most common skills that Financial Services Professionals across the UK region as a whole have listed on their profiles, as well as a breakdown of the number of job posts which include or request these skills.
|SKILLS||PROFESSIONALS||% OF TOTAL||JOB POSTS|
Education & Institutions
We can see from this data that lot of professionals within the Financial Services sector rely on CPD in order to hone their professional skills and have taken an iterative approach to completing and achieving a range of different qualifications at different times depending on where their career goes; not as much weight is put simply on the degree you have obtained or the subject you choose.
|Chartered Insurance Institute||2559|
|The London Institute of Banking & Finance||1,254|
|The University of Manchester||829|
|The Open University||781|
|The Manchester Metropolitan University||767|
|University of Birmingham||705|
|University of Leeds||700|
|The London School of Economics and Political Science||699|
Interestingly, when comparing recent graduates to the professional body in the industry as a whole, we can see that more people have chosen to stay on at university in order to obtain a master’s degree. This could be indicative of a reluctance to head straight into the world of work, perhaps due to the instability of the current job climate and the difficulty many are facing in securing a position. Or perhaps because so many people have obtained a Bachelor-level degree now, new graduates will need to obtain a master’s degree in order to stand out.