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Financial services recruiters’ predictions for 2013

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Is this year going to get any better? After a 2012 where 40,000 jobs were lost in investment banking alone, and cuts continued to be rolled out throughout the year, financial services professionals will be hoping for an easier ride.

We’ve already garnered the views of heads of recruitment within banks, fund managers and professional services firms about what the year ahead holds. Now, we’ve spoken to financial services recruiters on what they expect for 2013.

Most are anticipating more risk and compliance recruitment, with front office hiring still decidedly barren.

Ben Cowan, director, Astbury Marsden

“Recruitment is sentiment led, so in the first half we’re expect a broadly similar market to the second half of last year and the outlook for the broader economy in 2014 will drive demand for financial services recruitment in H2.

We don’t foresee widespread, mass job culls, but wouldn’t rule out some firms making strategic decisions to exit unprofitable business lines and redundancies arising as a result.

Recruitment around technology and risk will continue. Technology demand will remain consistent as firms continue to deal with incorporating new risk frameworks and the impact of legislation on systems. Big data projects will also begin to be explored.”

Jonathan Evans, chairman of equities focused headhunters Sammons Associates

“Sadly, I think that 2013 will continue to be bleak for equities professionals. Regulatory pressure on compensation, combined with the scandals of the past 12 months, will mean that investment banks are going to be reluctant to pay big bonuses, particularly in equities. There will be some movement as a result, but as there aren’t many newcomers to the market, I’d expect just some upgrading and replacement. As people are struggling to get back in, I’d also expect an increase in people leaving the industry.”

Ian Clark, director at Hays Financial Markets

“We expect to see continued pockets of demand in financial services in 2013, particularly within areas such as corporate governance, compliance and change management. As many of these projects are driven by legislation deadlines, with UK operations potentially requiring adherence to UK, EU and US legislation, there is demand for temporary and interim workers to deliver these projects on time and budget. Across the market we have seen businesses restructuring and enhancing their internal controls, and candidates who are able to demonstrate an ability to improve efficiency and reduce costs are also in demand, for example in technology and procurement roles.”

Peter Milne, director of financial services recruitment at Robert Walters

“Within the banking sector, most recruitment is likely to continue to be prompted by banks focusing on business-critical replacement hires. However, there will be some exceptions to this and growth hiring is still likely to take place – primarily in response to regulatory pressure. Because of this, we anticipate that firms will continue to hire for operational risk and control-focused roles. The compliance jobs market is also looking relatively positive, with smaller firms in particular still seeking to hire specialists in this area.

One area where we expect to see growth is the insurance sector. The London insurance market was boosted by a variety of positive developments throughout 2012, including the announcement of Lloyd’s ‘Vision 2025’ and relocation of some firms to the City from overseas.  As a result, we expect these employers to look to recruit in 2013.”

David Leithead, managing director, Michael Page Financial Services

“We anticipate that after a slow start, 2013 recruitment levels in the sector will improve somewhat on 2012.

Geographic flexibility will become a bigger factor as several large banks will make bold moves in 2013 to right-shore functions out of London to other parts of the UK. Fragmentation of the sector will continue to create opportunities, with more start-ups and new entrants to the market expected.

Changes in strategy and appetite for risk will cause some firms to retreat, but some to advance. Ever tightening regulation will mean a continued robust demand in governance areas, such as risk management, compliance and audit.

Dramatic structural changes in the sector’s large firms will continue to create opportunity for jobseekers in finance and regulatory related roles, and change management. As always there is also some extent to which firms will use the current turmoil as a context for up-skilling, and we won’t be surprised to see some new hiring in supposed crisis areas, in the first half of 2013.”

Andy Dallas, director, Robert Half Financial Services

“According to our recent research, business growth may be on the horizon in 2013.  Business outlook has improved, with most financial services executives indicating they are “somewhat” or “very” confident in their companies’ growth prospects compared with last year.

There remains a significant need for risk, regulatory and compliance professionals, and as demand outweighs supply, companies face increased budgetary pressure to secure the market’s most sought-after individuals. As a result, many organisations are turning to interim and project professionals as a cost-effective solution to access in-demand skills and experience. Hiring within other functional areas has been primarily to fill vacated positions, although companies are willing to make additional hires to support revenue-generating activities.”

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