It’s a strange time in the Financial Services labour market. There are the fewest active candidates seeking jobs that we’ve seen in decades. With economic uncertainty, and a cost of living that is outpacing any increase in salaries, many people already in permanent positions are extremely cautious about moving.
How should businesses respond to a very candidate-led market? One shift we’ve seen is organisations that never previously considered interim hires bringing in contractors. If a business has a specific clear need, it can be very time and cost-effective to take a problem-solving approach and bring on a contractor – or a whole team on contract. Interim talent can be hugely beneficial, quickly bringing relevant knowledge and experience into your organisation. Contractors can also be useful as an “outside voice” – able to see potential weak points in your processes and suggest improvements that might not be as easily visible to long-term staff. Approaching resource needs with a dynamic approach and being open to new options is crucial right now. Where work needs to be done to prepare a business for a regulatory change, there is quite often simply not time to recruit a permanent person, especially with the lengthy notice periods that can be attached to senior and specialised roles. With a number of regulatory changes already announced, this can be a key driver in resource needs within Governance, Risk, Compliance, Complaints and Financial Crime.
I think businesses should also think about how they approach any permanent vacancy. For some organisations, certain positions are going to need to be perm hires and there’s no way around it. So how do you get the best out of the current landscape?
I think any business looking for a skilled, specialist professional needs to carefully consider making serious changes to how they hire – what has worked in the past is not necessarily going to work now. It’s important to be as competitive as you can with salaries, but that’s only one part of the puzzle, and often not the biggest one. With the explosion in remote working over the last two years, the ability to work from home has become a make-or-break issue for many candidates. Of course, being fully remote will not work for every role in every organisation – and we are also seeing candidates who prefer to be based in an office.
I think the two keys to permanent recruitment right now are clarity and flexibility. They may seem like competing needs, but it’s important to strike a balance of setting out in all adverts and communications exactly what you’re looking for, and which parts of that can and cannot be changed for the right candidate.
If you’re thinking about your organisation’s resource needs, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 643 2100