If you want to position yourself in a growth sector with job security, try consulting. More specifically, look towards consultants who work with firms in the financial services sector. Last year, the industry generated $42bn in revenues, and the ongoing need for financial sector firms to strip out costs and change their business processes has continued to provide lucrative work for specialist consultancies.
A case in point is Capco, a specialist business and technology consultancy targeted solely at the financial services sector. Over the past 12 months it’s increased its headcount exponentially to hit around 2,000 globally, with its biggest offices in the UK and North America. Most recently, this month it launched a new digital division to help financial services organisations with their digital strategies as they struggle with social media and mobile app development.
We spoke to Isabel Naidoo, Capco’s director of human capital, about the firms’ hiring plans going into 2014.
Are you still hiring this year? What are the plans for 2014?
In 2013 so far we’ve added an additional 250 people in Europe and around the same in our North American business. In Europe, we still have around 50-100 roles to fill before the end of 2013. We’re still at the planning stage for our 2014 recruitment, but I would expect us to add at least the same number of people next year, if not more.
Do you have any particular areas of focus?
It’s across the board, but we’ve seen an increased demand from clients in the banking sector, so will be building our business there. However, we’d also expect to hire people in insurance, wealth, finance, risk, compliance and generic management consulting. There’s also been a great deal of change management within financial services firms, which has translated into a need to build our teams in this area.
Where will you be growing?
Europe is our primary focus – UK, Germany, France and Switzerland.
What type of people are you looking to hire?
They need a consulting background, but this needs to be combined with domain experience and a passion for financial services. We’re also looking for people who want to work in a fast-paced environment within a company where there’s a lot of growth. Currently, we’re recruiting at all levels, from graduate through to very senior candidates.
How many applications for a role do you typically receive?
It depends on the role, and it’s very seasonal – we see more applications from January to June, whereas this time of year is quieter. If it’s a very specialist role, we tend to get 1-5 applications, but more generic management consulting roles can attract 15-20. We’re also doing a lot of recruiting through referrals and use social media channels to target candidates.
What can people expect from the recruitment process?
Expect it to be fast – we go from interview to offer very quickly. Initially, candidates are screened via a telephone interview with HR, then HR and someone from the business will interview them, which will be competency-based and test technical skills. There will also be a presentation, but usually the whole process is over the course of a morning or a day. For more junior positions we take an assessment centre approach, where 10-12 employees will take time out to engage with the same number of candidates. There’s no psychometric testing, but candidates are expected to take part in a number of interviews and team-based exercises.