Recent economic troubles, combined with the prospect of more difficulties to come, have had a knock-on effect on financial services recruitment. Public opinion surrounding the banking crisis has spurred the FSA to tighten rules and regulations. As a result, there is perhaps a greater focus on compliance than ever before. However, while compliance departments are looking to increase their headcounts, uncertainty in the market has led to cuts across the board, resulting in a loss of permanent staff.
These conditions have put temporary candidates in an extremely advantageous position. This is reinforced by recent REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) statistics, which revealed that 83% of employers foresee that their use of temporary staff will either increase or remain the same over the coming quarter. These statistics are extremely congruous with our own experience, and in particular, as institutions seek to increase the flexibility of their workforce, we have seen an increased demand for compliance professionals to complete short-term projects.
Among the most sought after professionals at the moment are regulatory controllers and reporters – particularly those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and take on some extra duties within a difficult market.
Much of the latest demand appears to be born out of a desire to avoid repeating mistakes of the recent past. As a result, employers are investing more in contractors for “know your client” projects, in other words, rigorous background checks of any organisation with which a financial institution does business. In the finance sector, there is a heavy focus on compliance across the board.
In addition, banks have invested heavily in monitoring individual transactions in case of fraud or money laundering. This trend extends to a wider demand for heads of compliance, particularly in smaller banks, as the sector as a whole is on high alert for fraud.
This rise in demand for temporary staff looks set to benefit those who wish to enhance their CV in a short amount of time. Because of the desire to complete projects without increasing a permanent headcount, contracts can be extremely lucrative. For those sought-after candidates with a strong, academic “big four” background, remuneration packages are particularly generous. For example, a regulatory analyst can earn up to £500 per day. “Know your client” contractors also have high earning power. Whereas in the recent past, rates might have been around £20 per hour, temporary project workers can command up to £300 a day. Even within smaller banks, an interim head of compliance can receive £300 to £400 per day.
Although the financial services market may seem unpredictable at present, many professionals are taking advantage of this volatility and advancing their careers through temporary work. In the current conditions, a series of short to mid-term contracts can not only be lucrative, but, if timed correctly, can propel candidates up the career ladder.
Robert is Financial Services Director at Venn Group, the specialist provider of temporary and interim staff across the UK and Ireland. Robert has over twelve years’ experience of managing recruitment teams within the financial services sector.
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