Posted by: Charlotte Matthew

Posted on: .

What’s been happening across the Financial & Professional Services sector in London?


Late 2017 and early 2018 has been an exceptionally busy market from a HR hiring perspective across London, especially across Financial and Professional services organisations. We have record levels of temporary contractors out in H2 and similarly, from a permanent perspective, we have witnessed incredibly high role volumes and placement levels across Oakleaf. Peaks and troughs within HR hiring finally seem to be ‘normalising’ after the shocks and events of the last two years distorted our ability to predict the timing of hiring trends throughout the year.

Recent hiring trends:

In particular, HR Business Partners have been in very high demand due to organisations utilizing these individuals to drive commercially focused HR initiatives locally and internationally. These initiatives primarily surround; TUPE, M&A, re-structuring and cultural change. Due to a candidate shortage in this area, we have observed base salary increases of circa 10-20% over the last few months circa £70k– £95k (£400 p/d – £700 p/d equiv). Furthermore, with enhanced workloads, we have also noticed a notable shift in the level of HR generalist support roles (Assistant, Coordinator and Advisor) on a permanent and contract basis, with salaries ranging from circa £25k – 50k (£120p/d – £250 p/d equivalent) depending upon level of experience. Financial Services pays a slight premium from a base salary and bonus perspective.

Learning & Development and Talent Specialists have also been in demand, particularly those with Coaching and Talent/Succession Planning experience in order to help manage group talent and development initiatives, as well as support broader retention strategies.

From a recruitment point of view in London, Senior Recruiters with a background in Executive Search or with a particular strength in direct sourcing who are also able to utilise key technology platforms as well as their existing network, have been the first to secure senior internal Recruitment positions. These typically range from £55k – £95k (£250 p/d – £500 p/d).

Additionally, from an interim perspective, Regulatory and Policy Change Specialists are also engaged in a high volume of interim assignments at present, working closely with Risk, Compliance, Reward & Finance departments from a legislative point of view. ER specialists are also heavily involved in Brexit and regulatory related restructuring, ongoing cost saving programmes and organisational design changes.

Topics on the immediate HR agenda:

In the last 12 months, HR functions are facing a variety of different challenges, which in turn are resulting in the introduction of new working policies and project delivery. This allows organisations to accommodate and adapt to these accordingly.

From a Generalist, Projects & Learning perspective, key themes our HR leadership teams are focusing on include: GDPR, Gender Pay Gap Reporting, flexible working patterns, D&I & ongoing Brexit Planning. The role of HR Leadership in supporting decision making on these key topics is more important than ever before. We continue to partner with our customers to deliver thought leadership and events with a focus on these topics frequently, so do get in touch if these are of interest.

Given all of the above, we anticipate HR hiring levels will remain busy until the latter part of the year, taking in to consideration holiday periods. Professional Services in particular is a huge growth market in London and as a result we will be developing our specialist Professional Services team further over the course of the next 12 months to continue to support our customers growth strategies in these areas.

To find out more about how Oakleaf can support HR hiring talent in your team, if we can support you in your own job search, or for further insight about the HR recruitment market in London and upcoming financial and professional services HR events, please reach out to Charlotte Matthew on our Financial & Professional Services Practice: 0207 337 7691 or email


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