Posted by: Simon Hunt

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Professional & Financial Services Market Insight – July 2021


“Commitment, collaboration and mutual respect will be the cornerstones of success”

I don’t know about you but July seems to have been and (almost) gone in a flash! It’s possibly a personal bias that we have had a sporting calendar return with gusto - the Euros,

Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Lions tour and if that isn’t enough to keep us entertained then the recruitment market has gone crazy – what more is there….!??

How times have changed. We are currently experiencing a jobs rush / boom that we have not seen in years. We are now as busy as we were pre Covid when we look at job volumes / headcount. In certain sectors our job portfolio is beginning to outstrip the vacancysoft lead numbers and these have been such a useful barometer for the market as a whole as we have all been trying to predict its return. This is a significant trend as you will see in the financial services and professional services reports here.

The standout fact is that it feels like everyone is currently looking for TA / talent acquisition / internal recruitment talent. 26% of our job portfolio (excluding reward, analytics and payroll) is centred around this. Given there was very little new work coming through pre May this is a massive turnaround in a 3 month period. It goes some way to explaining why this sudden increase is challenging the available talent pool. I sense the key issue here is that the increase in volumes of work on in house teams means they are hugely under resourced and even if individuals do want to look at moving they simply don’t have the time to focus on themselves and their search.

All the work we currently have is up to 120k and it is very evenly split with operational recruiters and manager / senior operational roles – the talent demand here is huge. There is work in the TA leadership space – it seems to be very fragmented across the supply chain.

The demand is also heavily biased toward experience hire recruiters so the necessity to think outside the box to attract talent is key – you may need to consider interim and perm solutions / agency and inhouse and even dare I say it out of sector….

Our Ops Director Gareth Evans wrote an excellent piece last week in regard to the pressures in hiring TA talent so if you are looking at hiring please do have a read.

Professional Services

(Source: Vacancysoft)


In the four months since I last put pen to paper for you all, the professional services market has led the way with continued exponential growth in volumes of HR jobs. 

In brief:

  • Job volumes were up 120% vs the previous quarter, via another enormous leap in May, and interim roles jumped to nearly half of the total new mandates registered, which was a sea change from a previously perm heavy market.
  • FTC opportunities dominated but given pressures on time to hire and the need to access wider talent pools, day rate interim placements in core HR / inside IR35 roles have started to rebound.
  • Candidate flow tightened considerably with active candidates consistently securing multiple interviews and regularly, even multiple offers and ‘passive’ candidates still biding their time, or being effectively retained


Dealing with pent up demand from the previous 12 months, plus pushing forward with the future facing plans that I mentioned in my last update has meant talent acquisition teams have been under huge pressure across the sector. Legal, consulting, accountancy and real estate organisations have all been able to sign off on hires across the board – from generalist to L&D / talent, HR change and project roles. The recruiter market is insanely buoyant - as one client put it, talent is ‘evaporating’. Competition is fierce regarding salary / total comp and in relation to the flexibility that organisations can offer. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is open to going back to the office on 5 days a week basis. Individual preferences are, of course just that – individual – and so something of a minefield. However most organisations are becoming clearer about their philosophies and what will work for their business, just as candidates and employees are doing the same. Occasionally, it won’t match up – it will be interesting to see how this evolves.

At the heart of managing all of this is… wait for it…. investing in relationships. Nothing new. This works in so many ways – us reinvigorating our networks to turn up new candidate pools, advising on the latest salary trends, counselling where needs be on candidate experience, being on the front foot to try and anticipate and capture as much information as possible in what is still quite a volatile market….  It also requires true partnership between candidate / recruiter and recruiter / client – in the face of an unprecedented bounce back, commitment, collaboration and mutual respect will be the cornerstones of success.

We have such a huge opportunity for seasoned and even inexperienced recruiters to make a real difference in this market. We are still actively hiring and have a number of new opportunities to share. There has never been a better time…

Financial Services

(Source: Vacancysoft)

With over double the amount of new HR jobs registered in June vs. May, the financial services team are reporting an almighty bounce back from the less than robust HR recruitment market of 2020. The team is currently the busiest it has been since November 2019 and there is significant shift from a sluggish market in Q4 and Q1 to an almost bullish market currently in Q2.

It is no surprise to report a substantial rise in Talent Acquisition and Recruitment roles which currently make up 40% of our total vacancy portfolio. Interestingly, a lot of the hires are due to new headcount and the result of smaller to mid-size businesses investing in their longer-term talent strategies, with a focus on attraction and retainment.

Here are some key highlights as to what is being reported across the financial services HR jobs market:

  • The junior - midlevel market is busy, with most candidates that were 'passively looking' now in multiple processes. There is a newfound confidence in candidates and determination to land their “perfect” role.
  • One of the biggest pulls for candidates is the flexibility of the employer and what is on offer in terms of a work life balance and a hybrid approach. This seems to be more important than salary.
  • There is a large focus on TA / Recruitment roles, as well as specialist positions (L&D, Talent Management, D&I, People Operations)
  • We are seeing an increase in demand for tech recruiters as businesses are investing in technology and digitalisation.
  • Both clients and candidates are moving quickly, with multiple permanent processes going from 1st stage interview through to offer in a couple of days. Pace and urgency of the hiring manager remains the key to securing the best talent.
  • It is a candidate driven market with candidates receiving multiple offers.
  • Multiple sectors across financials services are recruiting, however, we are seeing a high level of new roles from asset & investment management firms.
  • Longer term FTCs are on the rise again, 12-month FTCs to cover tricky permanent hires or maternity cover contracts with the potential to convert to permanent roles.
  • The interim market is picking up which is encouraging, we are seeing a steady stream of day rate opportunities at the junior end of the market.
  • Senior day rate roles are coming through mainly from the banking sector and larger Asset Managers. These are mostly HR Business Partner roles with elements of complex change/OD work.

We are delighted to have grown our team this quarter and welcome Alex Wade who joins our successful Senior Interim business. Wishing you all the best of luck Alex!

Our financial services team would love to hear from you. We are working on some outstanding opportunities and the optimism in the market feels as if it is here to stay.


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