To get a clearer picture of the current lie of the land within the Financial Services sector, we asked our consultants to rank the factors that have had the greatest impact on hiring within their industry, and to share their personal insights on the current hiring climate within the sector, their experiences operating within it over the first quarter and their predictions for the months that lie ahead.
Introduction, authored by Associate Director Alex Russon
In the first quarter of 2023, hiring within the Financial Services sector continues to be impacted by skills shortages. Although this should in theory be continuing to drive salaries up, there appears to be a tentative but observable shift to a more client-driven hiring market in the first quarter of this year, as noted in the experiences of my colleagues below. Though skills shortages are prevalent, many of our clients have a preference for hiring individuals who come from long-standing and stable backgrounds within the same role; perhaps a knock-on effect of the uncertain climate, job-hoppers are more so than ever off-putting for those looking to hire within the sector.
Retention is still a considerable pain point and priority for businesses in the sector, and we have seen a significant level of counteroffers being accepted, as heads are seemingly being turned more successfully; this can either be accounted for by the strength of the counters now being offered, or the desire for job security in an unstable economic climate.
The good news is that roles are still widely available in the sector, so the hiring market looks likely to remain buoyant throughout the remainder of the year: there are still plenty of opportunities available for those Financial Services professionals who are looking to make a move. The focus for clients should be ensuring their benchmarking is accurate and their USP is strong, whilst individuals searching for a change should manage their own expectations as per the state of the current market.
Alex Russon, Associate Director for Financial Services
“Recently, expectations are too high and out of line with current employees…”
“I’m finding that several candidates are making a career move for financial reasons; this is reasonable if their knowledge and experience warrant the salary level that they have indicated. However, several times recently I’ve had to feed back to the candidates that their salary expectations are too high and out of line with current employees, so there is somewhat of a disconnect between client and candidate expectations with regards to salaries. In addition, I am starting to notice that more and more companies are starting to fully recall staff members or are reducing the number of days they can work from home. The train strikes have had quite an impact on candidates considering their choice of commute and the distance they are willing to travel. There seems to be a steady number of roles becoming available, however, finding the candidates that are suitable and matching their expectations is the real challenge.”
Lucy Warman, Managing Consultant
“There seems to be a disconnect between what clients and candidates want, regarding salary and working arrangements…”
I suspect this is signifying a shift away from a candidate-led market, as economic uncertainty prevails, and some redundancies occur. I think it might be a challenging year for the economy generally.
Stuart Wickham, Principal Consultant
“We are already seeing people bringing people back to the office, with many roles stipulating at least a 3-day split…”
“From my perspective, the challenges in London are as follows: there has been a significant lack of roles due to the end of the tax year and constrained budgets. I have also seen quite a lot of roles offering larger salaries, as companies are aware of the increasing demand for good-quality people, as well as the impact of the cost of living. Although junior candidates are asking for higher than before.
We are already seeing people bringing people back to the office, with many roles stipulating at least a 3-day split. We are also seeing more experienced people looking to move, or people who have spent long periods of time at their current firm now deciding to look for a new challenge. Lots of small firms are being taken over in acquisitions, good quality means people want to leave. The economy has significantly impacted the number and type of candidates available, and this has had an impact on the attitude of skilled candidates who are in the market: they are aware that they can likely secure a role with higher pay elsewhere.”
Alice Woodruff, Principal Consultant
“Counteroffers have been having a massive impact on the market…”
“I think counteroffers have been having a massive impact on the market. People are looking for higher salaries, but clients aren’t necessarily paying the premiums. The progression as a trainee adviser is also stalled by the number of positions available, however, this appears to be changing. A lot more candidates are working towards their Diploma so there are a number of good candidates in the market.”
Finn Greaves, Associate Recruitment Consultant
“Clients need to look at their offering in terms of job satisfaction, progression, and benefits…”
“Finding top-quality candidates who are willing to move has always been the biggest challenge, but even more so in the current market. This is why more and more clients need to look at what they can offer in terms of job satisfaction, progression, and employee benefits. Salary will always be important, but businesses shouldn’t underestimate the power of an attractive USP and benefits offering.”