In what is normally a slow time of the year, compliance recruitment over the summer of 2018 was buoyant, both for contract and permanent professionals.
Historically, Q3 is when recruitment into financial services slows down due to the school holiday period. However, we have seen a continuous flow of permanent roles throughout the quarter this year, despite processes slowing with hiring managers and candidates taking leave. Investment managers and medium sized banks have been the most active during this ‘quiet time’, making sure all signed off roles are filled before budgets are decided for 2019.
Earlier this year, James Batters wrote that 2018 had been ‘an offbeat year for the compliance contract market. Like for like vs 2017, we have seen the number of day rate contract compliance roles drop significantly - is it just a blip? Or has the once titanic compliance job market struck a summer iceberg?’
After the drop to start the year, Q3 did see a 19% increase in contract opportunities compared to the previous quarter. This rise in surveillance jobs, AML jobs and other compliance jobs can be attributed to growth in areas including boutique asset managers, investment banks, brokerages, FinTechs and private equity houses where steps are being taken to reduce the contractor vs permanent imbalance.
As these smaller businesses increase revenues, so do their regulatory responsibilities. To accommodate for this, they need specialist compliance professionals to meet the stringent demands from the regulator and as a result, there was demand for regulatory change and 2nd line defence risk and control professionals.
Many firms have indicated they are keen to continue hiring in London but also are announcing expansion into locations such as Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Dublin and Frankfurt. This Brexit related activity has created some uncertainty in candidates and many are unsure whether to move positions before the March 19th ‘exit’ date but despite this, numbers of active candidates across the board have remained steady - financial crime, compliance advisory and regulatory change have been particularly buoyant areas.
As we approach the end of the year, to ensure they capture the best talent, hiring managers will need to consider buying out contract candidates’ bonuses. Whilst this is an expensive solution, a lot of compliance professionals will be reluctant to walk away from a full year bonus at this stage.
We expect to see a further increase in permanent opportunities, but this could be hindered by larger investment banks cooling their appetite for wide scale project hiring, particularly in financial crime compliance. Cost saving persists as a big driver for recruitment in the industry, therefore we anticipate regional hiring away from London as firms continue to set up functions in more affordable locations.