The number of vacancies has increased by 23% in the last year, rising from 26,000 to 32,000 this year. In the last quarter alone, the number of vacancies in the sector has jumped by 9%, an increase of 3,000 jobs.
Confidence within the financial sector has grown recently as better capital conditions at the large retail banks has allowed them to focus on profitable growth. Many of the bad debts taken on during the recession have now been written off and many of the banks have now absorbed most of the impact of reimbursing customers for mis-selling PPI, and other hits to their balance sheets.
There is a sense of renewed optimism within the financial services sector as firms anticipate a return to improved profitability. Financial services companies are now turning towards growth strategies rather than looking for turnaround specialists to implement cost cutting programmes as deals and investment return to the City.
The retail banks are taking full advantage of the increase in activity in the mortgage market, with many seeking more staff to deal with the rush of mortgage applications.
Improved consumer confidence is also having a positive knock on effect to the retail banking sector, with both the challenger banks and the larger banks increasing team sizes to boost their current account offerings. A jump in hiring in the retail banking sector is outweighing any recent job losses at the investment banks.
Another key driver behind the surge in vacancies is wide ranging regulatory reforms. Put in place since the recession, the reforms affect all aspects of a financial services firm including trading, collateral and outsourcing arrangements.
In the wake of the recession, regulatory reforms and compliance have become key areas of focus for financial services firms. Businesses are now dedicating even bigger resources to their regulatory and compliance teams to deal with the flood of reforms taking place.
A major project for many financial services firms is preparations for the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) which comes into force August this year. The reform will now mean that firms will have to start reporting trades in a wider range of derivatives transactions, meaning more manual work and larger compliance teams as a result.
Reinforcing their compliance infrastructure is now essential to financial services firms; hence many are searching for compliance and regulatory specialists to head up new practices responsible for executing reforms throughout the company. Skilled technology staff are also in high demand as firms focus on designing automated checks and tough data security systems to appease regulators.
We predict hiring within the Financial Services sector will remain strong over the coming year, with optimism continuing to grow, especially in the UK.
We will still be seeing a high need for contractors specialising in compliance issues, as the banks seek to limit their exposure to risk in time with new regulatory demands.
* February – April 2009 to February – April 2014
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