June saw a continuation of the turbulent market conditions that are seemingly set to characterise the 2013 hiring market within the operations function of our banking clients. There were a number of significant organisational changes effecting movement in the market, almost as dramatic as the Bloomberg headlines to accompany them.
The decision by a leading French bank to return much of its back office operations to Paris - whilst not new, the effect of the transition is now resonating clearly in the London market. Due to this, there has recently been a surge of new candidate’s actively seeking new opportunities, many of whom had served many years with the business. Adjusting the skills and experience of this talent to best suit the vacancies on offer has posed a significant recruitment challenge from an agency perspective, with the current market favouring highly niche and specialised skills and experience for short term contract roles, rather than the broader, all-encompassing experience these candidates possess.
The market still maintains a bias towards contract roles as hiring managers struggle to secure sign off for permanent headcount. However, the balance evened out somewhat in June and there was a definite rise in the number of perm vacancies being released - either because these have been sitting internally with direct recruitment or else hiring managers have applied a "use-it-or-lose-it" strategy to their hiring campaign.
Interestingly, the 'line' between contract and permanent candidates - traditionally a clear distinction in the market - is increasingly more blurred, with permanent candidates willing to consider the risk posed by contract roles in order to secure the right opportunity with the right business. Arguably, this is not surprising from a candidate's perspective where widespread restructuring and cost cutting measures have led to uncertainty about the security of permanent roles in general.
The client services space has continued to be busy throughout June, with a notable increase in demand within prime brokerage and structured product areas. Legal and paralegal professionals have also been in keen demand, as banks seek to bolster their structured confirmations and regulatory teams with strong, regulation-savvy and immediately available talent. Risk and control also continues to be a core area of demand, but requirements vary significantly from client to client depending on the internal structure of the bank in question.
Some favour a centralised control function with a greater emphasis on compliance and oversight, whilst others closely align such functions to specific desks and asset classes. The skills and requirements sought can vary considerably as a result. CASS / Client Money has also proved to be a busy area, with the creation of 'SME' type roles to bridge the potentially expensive compliance gap and provide crucial regulatory advice to line and other areas of the business. Candidates from a variety of different backgrounds continue to be in demand in this area, be it from consultancy, banking or asset management.
Breakdown of Candidate Registrations – June 2013