Despite large banks holding off from hiring into their audit departments after recent years of growth, September brought about an increase in vacancies.
Job flow was certainly low over July and August, but things did noticeably pick up in September with a 50% increase in vacancies compared to the previous month, signifying the highest job flow since April. The majority of roles have sat within IT Audit jobs/IT Risk jobs, although there was still some hiring at both AVP and VP levels within core Internal Audit. The largest banks have been very quiet in terms of hiring; this isn’t hugely surprising given the growth of their audit departments over the past few years - everything is now more attrition focused.
As financial regulators across the globe clamp down on how firms implement and monitor anti-financial crime controls, it comes as no surprise that audit functions have significantly bolstered their FCC audit teams. Whilst most of this is AML focused, functions are also broadening their activities to include Sanctions and ABC. Hiring for this area has been at all levels, from Associate/AVP, right through to Director.
The key to all these roles is the combined knowledge in both internal audit and expertise in Financial Crime. Consequently, those looking to make a move from a monitoring or 2nd line compliance/assurance role will certainly find it tricky.
IT Audit jobs
Many Investment Banks have been focusing their attention on this area. With trading processes becoming more automated through the adoption of electronic and algo trading, audit departments are looking to upskill and ramp up their capability to provide assurance for these processes. The majority of hiring has been at senior levels (SVP/Senior Audit Manager/Director) in order to help define the audit strategy and build out specialist teams to educate the wider internal audit functions.
This is an exciting area and any IT Audit candidates with strong Investment Banking experience who have an understanding of technology (coding) can transition into these roles. Salaries can be 10-15% higher for specialists in this area than for generic IT Audit profiles. Key skills include: infrastructure, cyber audit, electronic trading, code auditing and Investment Bank markets applications audit.
The constantly evolving technology risk landscape means it is paramount that organisations find the healthy balance between risk, control, innovation and high quality performance in order to maximise the delivery of a third party supplier. This said, the most important factor is ensuring effective protection of a systemically important financial market infrastructure.
To be a leading candidate in this area, one must be an astute information security professional with excellent communication skills, enabling relationships to be established with senior stakeholders, regulators and vendors. Demand for these roles has come from regulatory pressure and therefore organisations have offered attractive salaries to entice the top talent - Head of/Director level packages have been up to £150k and Managing Directors have consistently been above £200k.
Workplace wellness is quickly becoming a priority for Internal Audit job seekers. There has been a clear increase this year in the number of candidates looking for roles that offer an improved work-life balance, more regular hours and flexible working arrangements. Organisations have to be prepared to offer these if they want to attract top candidates.
The uptick in job flow seen throughout September gives hope of the market improving - this comes despite the concerns around Brexit weighing on the minds of hiring organisations and job seekers. Consequently, a number of mandates in European markets have come up, with Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam being the most in demand locations.
With the continuing Brexit uncertainty, candidates should be open-minded to exploring new options - any informal chats with potential employers are important, you never know what it could lead to.