Which candidates are finance recruiters struggling to find? We asked a selection of top finance recruitment firms in London which CVs they'd love to land on their desks tomorrow. This is what they said.
"Someone with front office experience and a legal degree," said James Findlay, principal consultant in risk and compliance at Selby Jennings. "The ideal is someone who moved out of the front office a few years ago and has a couple of years' compliance experience already. If you have a legal degree you work on the sell-side and the buy-side - buy-side clients are smaller and look for compliance professionals to deal with law and regulation."
These people do exist, but they're almost always employed already, Findlay added.
"Across compliance, the demand is for people with advisory experience," says Marnie Woolf at compliance search firm Woolf & Co. "I could place someone who is business friendly and who can sit on a trading floor and advise the front office people without turning into them, ten times over."
Strength in advisory compliance is also about personality, says Woolf. "You need to be punchy enough to deal with the biggest divas in banking and smart enough to take a rule and interpret in a way that is relevant to the business and will make them want to listen."
"The big demand is for highly rated equity salespeople at junior VP level," says Oliver Rolfe at search firm Spartan Partnership. "People with a good client franchise that will be easy to grow and develop. They're difficult to find and this is where there's a lot of demand."
"Experienced associates and junior VPs with strong deal experience are very difficult to find because in 2008 and 2009 banks weren't hiring and training enough people," says Richard Hall at Goodman Masson. "This was when the shutters came down. There are a few select candidates and they could interview at any bank in the City if they wanted."
"The biggest demand for equity researchers now is in the consumer space," says Zaki Ahmed, founder of Financial Search Limited, the specialist equity research head-hunting firm, "It's very IPO driven and there are several houses looking to hire in consumer right now."
With some equity researchers interviewing to test the water, Ahmed said banks want to hear from people with a genuine reason for moving on: "There are a lot of people just fishing around to see what their market rate is and are merely trying to get an offer in order to get bid back."
Speaking off the record, one hedge fund recruiter said decent risk and compliance people with a willingness to work late are difficult to ferret out. "I need people to cover US trading hours and work until 11pm at night. Good people don't want to work those kinds of hours - it's very difficult to find anyone experienced and decent who wants to do it."
Also speaking off the record, an M&A headhunter said the big challenge now is to find young Britons who want to work in M&A and will cover their domestic market. "Investment banking is full of Spanish, Italian and French nationals. Britons are a bit more sensible - they don't want to work the crazy hours any more and that makes it very difficult to find a British person with three to six years' M&A experience."
Finally, Hall says leveraged finance professionals who've worked for top banks are akin to hen's teeth. "If you're a good candidate at a good bank in leveraged finance, you will probably want to move to a hedge fund or into private equity," he says. "This can make it very difficult to find good candidates with top transaction experience who want to move into another banking role."