2018 has been a challenging year in the Change Management market, uncertainty around Brexit and the hangover from large regulatory programmes have taken their toll on the market. Inflated rates during the MiFID bubble and contractor heavy programmes have left a bitter taste with many organisations in Financial Services.
On the permanent side of the industry, the most in demand candidates are those at AVP level. For those unfamiliar with the most commonly used corporate grading, an Assistant Vice President sits above an Associate and just below a VP in seniority. The salary banding for a position of this seniority would typically be in the region of £45-£75k per annum excluding bonus and benefits. Typically, a career driven candidate would reach AVP level after around 3-6 years experience in Financial Services.
Over the last couple of years, banks have certainly ramped up their hiring of AVPs to a level not seen since the Financial Crisis. After 2008, the banks were quite risk averse as they were unsure of market conditions and the size in which they’d end up once the dust had settled. This led them to be quite contractor heavy; 80/90% of resources on certain programmes. Fast forward to more recent years, our clients seem much more comfortable to increase their permanent head count in attempt to flip the 80/90% split to the perm side and only bringing in contract resources with a particularly niche skill set. This, in reality, was the original point of a contractor - to supplement an in house team, not create a programme solely from the contingent workforce.
This has been a good cost-cutting exercise, replacing a £500 per day contractor with a £60k per annum permanent resource looks a lot better on the PnL. Our clients are now targeting the ‘up-and-coming’ candidates in an attempt to train them up to shift across programmes rather than deliver a single transformation then move on – maintaining the organisational knowledge and internal network.
Though the hiring has ramped up, good quality, actively looking AVPs are very much in short supply which makes filling open requirements more difficult at this grade than the more senior levels of VP or Director. The reasons for this are that our clients would rarely accept an external candidate at an Associate level making the move up. In addition to this, other than if you were particularly discontent in your current role, you would be unlikely to shift for a role of the same level and similar remuneration. However it is worth considering every opportunity on its merit, would a new organisation give you a clearer /faster progression route to VP? Give you broader industry knowledge / create a niche skill set you can take forward?
If you are currently unsure about the market or looking for some advice, please do reach out to me. With a difficult market, it is more important than ever to stay abreast of current trends and know your next steps.