I have taken a look at the banking and asset management market trends so far in 2018.
In this article I explore the reasons behind one of the busiest summer periods I have seen in five years, pin point the two areas of where the candidate shortages are and I forecast the market trends for the next quarter.
The summer period
Without meaning to sound cliché it was busy, firms were hiring but as always processes were a mixture of good, bad and ugly and in some cases employers lost candidates through dragging their heels.
Three cheers to Brexit!
I was genuinely surprised by the volume of new business coming through and in my opinion it’s been one of the busiest summers for a good five or so years.
Funds management hiring
The spike in hiring was concentrated in certain pockets of funds management – private equity, real estate, credit/debt managers – and for the first time in a while some of the larger banks picked up their external hiring over the traditionally quieter summer months.
In particular banking was busy in mid-to-senior level FP&A and regulatory reporting.
Within funds management there was a surge of newly/recently qualified roles coming onto the market which follows the pattern associated with when people pass their exams. Credit/debt funds have really come into their own in the last few years and since January we’ve seen a huge increase in both independent managers, start-ups and established funds hiring for positions in finance.
Since the start of this month we’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking to repeat a phrase my grandmother used to say and the back to school injection of new roles and candidates is in full swing.
Where are the candidate shortages?
There are two main pressure points which I explore below:
Candidates beginning their post qualification career
The newly to a few years post qualified level is under acute amounts of pressure at the moment with all firms looking to bolster capability in finance. We’ve seen some crazy salaries thrown about and good people are generally only looking for a few weeks at best.
For example a well-known private equity fund recently hired a corporate accountant who was two years out of a mid-tier accounting firm on a base of £65,000 (he was on £52,000) purely to secure him quickly. Even at the newly qualified level people have been offered as high as £60,000 for a ‘first move’ role.
Mid-to-senior fund accountants and fund controllers
The same pressures also apply further up the ladder and fund accountants or fund controllers with deal support or tax or structuring experience are hard to come by for a multitude of reasons that all link back to the buoyancy of the alternatives industry. This mirrors a highly active and profitable investment market in Europe and noticeable increase in new funds, from starts ups to spin outs and other managers internalising from larger parent organisations. All of which has combined to drive external hiring and increasingly creative methods to retain and secure key talent.
What about senior level finance roles?
They’re on the increase!
For the last few years it’s been quite uninspiring at the senior end of the market with growth firmly concentrated in alternative asset management, fintech and mid-tier/challenger banks. Niche skillsets have been in demand – ie: funds finance, regulatory reporting – and BAU financial controller or head of finance positions have been hard to come by.
However, since the beginning of 2018 I have seen a gradual increase in new senior finance positions, especially at the £120,000-£150,000 level where there’s been a real dearth of genuinely chunky positions.
I’m hoping this trickle of new roles, driven largely by new companies or teams will continue.
What’s likely to happen between now and December 31st?
Q4 always tends to be a tale of two halves – panic end-of-year hiring and more and more candidates opting to stay put to collect their bonus.
What is the key to success for the end of the year?
Be decisive and quick!
We’ve already seen candidates from newly qualified to executive level start to put the brakes on a move unless something spectacular comes about and mirroring 2017, sign on bonuses seem to be on the increase.