Financial Services Review
The Financial Services sector remains surprisingly buoyant given the consistent volatility in the City. Oakleaf has seen a steady and continual rise in the number of available roles that we have been mandated to work on since December 2011. The majority of work remains in the £40,000 to £90,000 bracket and we continue to compete with firms doing their best to source directly and promote from within.
Recruitment as a whole has been led by the smaller boutiques, PE Houses, Asset Managers, Insurance firms and Retail banks. Organisations in this space seem to have weathered the storm and we have seen firms hiring into all areas of HR.
As we came to the end of the second quarter of the year we finally saw an increase in the number of roles within the global Investment Banks which was a welcome sign but the question remains on how long this will last. As I write this piece we are working with more than 10 of the major investments banks.
We have already seen the sector suffer from further bank downgrades; trading scandals, clampdowns on pay and the tougher regulation kicking in. There is a consensus that the Investment Banks still need to lose a considerable amount more fixed cost and unless they view an optimistic year ahead this will surely be felt on staffing numbers. Interestingly we have seen an increase in the number for mandates for recruiters and recruitment roles are always a pretty good measure of what the market is thinking and how it is feeling so this would suggest that businesses are still looking to hire in 2012.
Across the sector, good generalists / business partners remain in demand although the process seems to be slowing down in regard to getting candidates across the line. There does seem to be an element of uncertainty creeping in from hiring managers which means that roles are taking longer than usual to fill. We had not seen much activity at all in the L&D space in Q1 (a few roles at adviser and manager level and very little else), until recently when we have seen more roles nationally and internationally. It is refreshing to see that organisations have not completely forgotten to engage and develop existing staff when it would be easy to reduce Learning and Development budgets. Reward is still the busiest discipline in HR recruitment with roles across policy and governance to enable businesses to meet increased regulatory requirements. The Reward area (which includes Analytics, Metrics, Systems and Payroll at Oakleaf) is strictly candidate led and there is a lot of competition for top talent. Pensions is another area where there is high demand given the auto enrolment process starting this year. As already mentioned, recruitment roles are picking up which is a great lead indicator. There has not been a huge amount of work in the more specialist areas of ER, Change and OD/Talent.
Interim roles across financial services have kept the market relatively fluid and as we would expect they are proving to be a good option for employers in regard to getting around the usual headcount restrictions. Actual day rates are often being turned into fixed term contracts at offer stage in an effort to reduce cost.
The coming quarter sees the usual holiday season and the Olympics hit the city. We are expecting to have to work harder to maintain a continuum and have not had any feedback from clients to be concerned that the market will grind to a halt over this period.