When discussing the job market for financial services at this time, there is only one place to start. Let’s go back to 23rd June 2016, when a 3/1 outsider with the bookmakers came in; the British electorate (with a fine majority) voted to leave the European Union after 45 years in the Common Market.
Within weeks of the vote, David Cameron and George Osborne had departed, the pound had plummeted, and Britain was heading into unknown waters. Uncertainty was the order of the day. The worry plastered around the media had and to some degree still has been that we would lose many jobs to the continent. London would forfeit its position as the biggest player in financial services in Europe. The assertion that cities such as Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris would take jobs from the UK has been thrown around. It was well documented that many financial institutions currently used London as a hub from which to conduct business inside the single market. The ‘Passporting’ system allows mainly American and Asian banks access to customers and financial markets in the 28-nation EU trading bloc. With the UK leaving, this meant that banks would need a base in Europe to carry out business there.
This uncertainty stemming from the referendum was pre-empted in the job market; with institutions under-hiring in the early and middle parts of 2016. Banks held back on taking on staff, and only came out to market when absolutely necessary. Following on from a quiet summer, September came and the market picked up. Regulatory projects in particular showed great promise, MiFID II operations stood out greatly. The deadline for compliance with MiFID II falls in the beginning of 2018 (although there will be a remediation period of unknown length to follow)but up until then, candidates are being paid a premium to work on this in-demand initiative.
Moving forward, the next year we had expected the job market for IB change to continue as it had for the past couple of quarters. However, a shock general election has slightly altered that, with hiring managers not being as active. This and the expected mid-summer slowdown will be evident for the next couple of months, but we forecast a strong pick up come September. Regulatory initiatives should remain strong with the continuation of MiFID II contractors being in high demand and the emergence of roles in the Brexit-space. If the remediation period of EMIR was anything to go by, we can expect significant work for MiFID II to continue for at least, the next two years. EMIR II is also on the horizon. It seems that besides a few speed bumps, business will continue as usual in the IB projects and change industry, where candidates with the required skill set will be paid a premium.
To sum up, despite the rhetoric, the number of jobs released suggests that the contract job market for projects and business change is relatively strong. Although we have no idea how Brexit will unfold and more specifically how successful the trade negotiations with the EU will be or how the uncertainty brought with a general election will manifest itself. We can however, be sure beyond reasonable doubt that regulatory projects in the UK for the next couple of years will continue to be strong.
If you have experience in any of the initiatives I have discussed or other change projects then the Morgan McKinley Projects team would be very keen to discuss the market and potential opportunities with you.