The 2018 salary guide for permanent and contract accounting and finance professionals working in London's banking industry.
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Finance hiring in 2017 started off on a cautious note, steadily increasing over the year. Throughout last year we have seen Tier 1 and challenger banks going out to the external market for the niche and more difficult to find skill sets within the regulatory, liquidity and policy spaces. Some of the key trends for the year saw a notable increase in permanent positions and a decrease in contracting positions. This is mainly due to clients incorporating cost cutting initiatives; certain regulatory changes within the finance space has also brought on an increased demand for candidates within the capital and liquidity reporting space. Accounting policy and IFRS 9 candidates have been in great demand as the skill set is scarce at the AVP level. VP level candidates are well looked after from a salary perspective and can look forward to extensive career growth plans. There has been a limited appetite for external hiring at director level as most of these positions have been placed through internal promotions. The end of the year came to a slow close as candidates became hesitant to start the recruitment process as they would rather wait for bonus payouts and clients had limited capacity while focussing on meeting their end of year reporting requirements.
There was a variety of positions available throughout the year ranging from from product control to financial accounting, control and business partnering, as well as valuation control and regulatory reporting. There was a specifically high volume of recruitment across regulatory reporting within the liquidity and capital space. There was great demand for strong newly qualified accountants from the big four audit firms to take up entry level positions within the larger banks. There was also a notable increase in demand for part-qualified accountants within the boutique and challenger banks. On a more negative note, recruitment has decreased within the larger US and British banks as recruitment freezers have come into play with budgets becoming depleted. Political factors such as Brexit has seen a number of finance positions move out of London and into the EU zone.
There was a wide variety of roles in the market throughout last year. In the past few years there was a decrease in product control due to offshoring, however 2017 saw a definite increase from associate to AVP Level. Regulatory reporting roles experienced higher demand towards the latter end of the year, with a specific need for capital reporting and COREP. There was a steady demand for finance business partners, financial planning and analysis roles throughout the year across all levels from newly qualified all the way up to senior VP. Clients across banking and greater financial services are looking for candidates with both the analytical side combined with the capability to create relationships across business with strong interpersonal skills.
Professional qualifications have always been important with an emphasis on ACA, ACCA, CIMA, CFA and equivalents. Candidates must consider that if their current employer is willing to sponsor their qualification that they ensure they are aware of the cost implications if they are considering leaving. It is important that jobseekers that are expecting a new employer to pick up the costs of any further studies must outline this expectation at the beginning of any recruitment processes and not at the end. On the other spectrum, employers will be in an advantageous position from their competition if they are up to date and embrace the new generation moving into the job market, this generation being Millennials (also known as Generation Y). Some of these generational preferences has seen an increased appetite for flatter corporate cultures, an emphasis on work-life balance and integration as well as social consciousness. Flexible working hours, hot desking and the cooperative a leadership style seems to be the way forward when approaching new workplace environments.
We are seeing a consistent drive towards creating flexibility within the workplace, such examples include a day per work where employees can work from home and hot desks. We believe diversity in the workplace is a big drive at the moment, more specifically at VP to director level where a lot of the larger banks are looking for strong female talent. The gender pay gap and equal pay are hot topics of discussion, as female talent within the banking and wider financial services markets are actively seeking advice on whether or not their salaries are market related and should be a factor when evaluating how to retain female talent.
Across 2017 there was a constant flow of temporary finance roles to support critical projects; from reporting standards to cost reduction.
2017 was an interesting year, there was a steady flow of vacancies coming in for finance professionals on interim mandates from the London SME banking market across the year. Some of the key trends for 2017 was an increase in contract mandates on an interim basis. A number of smaller banks favouring onboarding contractors to support projects focused on increased reporting standards and cost reduction. Finance control / accounting positions have continued to see high demand as companies are hiring these roles to assist with statutory, monthly and year end reporting. After these roles such as these have gone live, there has been a noteworthy trend to and convert these contract roles into permanent positions.
There has been a steady flow of hiring across the management reporting space in 2017. It appears from our point of view that the need for these operations to remain onsite and in London is key. Many of the BAU and project roles we have placed are within teams being based in London, with a drive for strategy aligned roles post-Brexit. Throughout 2017 there were high volumes of recruitment needs across the regulatory BAU space with an increased emphasis on capital reporting.At the beginning of the year there was increased demand for transactional roles within investment and retail banks for roles such as accounts payable and credit controller positions. This was mainly due to larger volumes of invoices being processed by the banks and their desire to bring this function back into London, a trend that we see driving strongly into 2018. Regulation continues to drive demand within the financial services spectrum in London, when looking specifically within finance and accounting there has been an increase in the need for accountants who can assist with IFRS changes and implementation, namely IFRS9.
There was decreased demand for contract roles across Tier 1 bulge banks and SME boutique banks, while there was an increase in the amount of active candidates looking for roles. Hiring managers have been very particular in their search for the right candidates which has led to delays in the time it takes for roles to be filled. While the majority of SME banks and brokerage teams have management reporting teams based in London, there are some organisations who have off-shored this management information and extraction part of these roles - leading to decreased numbers in the team. However, these roles require contractors with a more niche set of technical and business facing skills. Due to Brexit uncertainty, many organisations have tended to refrain from hiring permanently. While it is top priority to ensure all areas of the business are equipped, where possible, hiring managers will try and bring those in on FTC or interim basis initially.
In 2017, there were notable trends of highly desired skills required for senior level finance positions. Candidates most likely to be selected and to progress into positions have been familiar with or had experience in ICAAP and ILAAP reporting. Jobseekers with this experience can qualify for day rates around £550+ per day. There are not big volumes of these roles, but those that understand the reporting standards will be in a strong position when opportunities arise. Strategy focused individuals who are comfortable in presenting to senior stakeholders on moving forward and embracing change are in demand. The majority of the roles in the SME banks want individuals with interpersonal strengths namely those who are self driven, well spoken and confident, and are able to add value in both the BAU and project aspects of their role.
In today’s market, organisations are looking to hire contractors who have a proven track record of delivering change initiatives and projects. With so many organisations going through change, either internally or as result of external influences like Brexit, senior level finance positions require individuals who are confident to deliver change. Projects such as business restructure, system implementations and software upgrades are some of the examples we saw an increase in 2017.
Diversity remains a hot topic for many organisations, and with the gender pay regulations coming into fruition in 2018, a number of SME boutique banks will be looking to discuss increasing the ratio of senior female talent across the world of finance and accountancy.