The secrets to success for jobseekers and employers in Risk Management

Nicola McGuane 15.04.2019

Increased levels of international roles in European hot spots have proved to be tempting for Risk Management professionals so far this year.

Employer trends seen across Risk Management at the start of 2019

Risk, Banking and Financial Services have continued to perform steadily year-on-year; the main focus of hiring has been regulatory driven, however Brexit has also played a key role. Some teams in London have had hiring freezes implemented due to all the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union. This in turn has had a knock on effect, culminating in an increased number of international roles across European hot spots such as Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt. These financial risk jobs have proved to be attractive for talented Risk candidates - they may not have had exposure to these roles in their home market otherwise.

Attraction and retention of Risk Management professionals

Within Risk, across both Banking and Asset Management, companies are continually expanding their offerings to employees in an attempt to ensure they are providing an appealing work environment and compensation package beyond just salary increases. Employees have cited numerous impactful or meaningful benefits when exploring new roles:

  1. Internal mobility - Encouraging employees to step outside their comfort zone to develop and progress their career within their organisation. By setting out clear career goals, employees will remain committed to the company and will hopefully be a long term part of the team. This also ensures culture and values are aligned across all teams.
  2. Work-life balance - Employers recognise the need to promote a balance between work and home life. By proactively encouraging employees to work from home or the availability of flexible hours when needed creates a healthy balance across the board. A lot of employees feel they are more productive at home because they have less distractions or interruptions.
  3. Long term incentive plans - We have seen an increase in this area which allows employees to work towards long term growth knowing that there is a reward forthcoming, but it also retains talent within the organisation by rewarding employees with company shares.
  4. Counter-offers - Strong counter-offers recognise the desire to retain SMEs within their teams instead of going to the market for niche skill sets.

From a Risk perspective, candidates often highlight desired benefits which include:

  • Investment in their learning and development such as paying for, or contributing towards, successful completion of CFAs or ACAs
  • Incentives and rewards such as paid lunches, monthly / annual travel tickets, health and dental care for family, long term stock options, or cash allowances towards a healthier lifestyle, regular salary reviews, team / work events away from the office etc.
  • Strong pension contributions from an employer which an employee can match or increase
  • An opportunity to buy additional annual leave days or to have an attractive holiday allowance - this is especially important for employees with young families or commitments elsewhere
  • Some employers are offering ‘promotion on hire’ for certain candidates with niche skill sets which is extremely attractive to an employee and fastracks their career path - this also makes them feel valued as a new joiner and cements their commitment

What have professionals done to succeed in their roles?

Across Leveraged Finance risk candidates, there has been a strong demand for talented credit experts who have their own lending discretions or sanction authorities to sign off large complex and highly leveraged transactions. Within Investment Risk, the need for a CFA qualification is almost becoming a prerequisite in order to be considered for some opportunities, or at the very least to have completed or be in the process of completing them; candidates with programming and quantitative skills (Python and VBA) are also in demand.

In the quant world, there is a need for understanding around governance, frameworks, and policies for model risk. So much so, there are new teams being formed to specifically cover these key areas. Given that some teams are taking on larger portfolios and coverage across various regions, there is a strong appetite for candidates with additional European language skills.

Notable behaviours displayed by Risk professionals

Compensation is no longer a top priority across the board for candidates when exploring new roles. They are willing to move to new organisations for the same salary, or in some cases even taking a pay cut, if there is a healthy work-life balance on offer and the organisation has a forward thinking, inclusive culture.  

Professionals are also recognising that they need to be more mobile in order to further their careers, and Brexit has provided some fantastic opportunities to explore roles across a number of European hubs.

Some candidates were disappointed with bonuses this year, especially if it doesn’t reflect a strong performance review; this has resulted in some long term employees moving to pastures new for an opportunity to achieve higher compensation, receive better bonuses and additional benefits.

What has influenced Risk Management recruitment?

There is no escaping the fact that Brexit has been a driving force, creating unique opportunities within Risk. On the flip side, given the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, some key clients and recognised ‘big players’ within the Risk market have stalled or reduced their hiring of financial risk jobs until there is a clear line of sight.

Nicola Mc Guane's picture
Consultant | Risk Management Recruitment
nmcguane@morganmckinley.co.uk