Overall 2016 was a turbulent year with the Referendum and US Election two examples of major world events that shaped the recruitment market. Q1 started busy with job flow up approximately 10%. Q2 saw a reduction of approximately 40% in the build up to the referendum, however the result did not reflect the job flow that saw Q3’s activity return to the Q1 level. Q4 saw the natural reduction in roles that is expected due to end of the year and Christmas period.
Q4 saw an increase of 10% YoY by comparison to 2015 which was mainly down to a later surge of roles in December as firms sought to get searches underway for planned hires in early 2017. However the referendum is still causing a level of nervousness in the candidate market with candidates being more cautious with searches due to a lack of stability.
On the contract side, there are both a high number candidates as well as roles. However, we are seeing more and more that candidates are required to have a very particular skill set in order to be successful in their application. For example, junior candidates (1-3 years post qualification experience) are being asked to have greater knowledge of various accounting standards. This is so that hiring managers are able to differentiate between the high numbers of applicants.
There was a steady stream of Management Accounting and FP&A roles across both the Asset Management and Investment Banking industries. Both were looking mainly for newly qualified juniors and as a result the competition for candidates who were finishing off their qualification was intense.
As well as this, almost all of the roles we saw in Q4 had a large project element to the role which mainly focused on process improvements and efficiency findings. This is mainly due to reduction of pure project and change roles and the increased demand on employees to go above and beyond their BAU role to cope with this.
Furthermore, we have also seen an increase in the need of well rounded Product Controllers. This is due to the decrease in team size in the Product Control space and as a result are looking for Product Controllers with a good understanding of valuations, risk attribution and daily P&L.
As always, there is a demand for candidates with strong regulatory knowledge, particularly for roles within Statutory Accounting. Again, this is across both the buy and sell side. The issue faced when recruiting for roles within this area is that a lot of the more junior candidates want to move into what they deem to be more analytical roles, such as business partnering and financial planning. The demand for candidates in the Business Partnering / FP&A space has been sustained, with roles at varying levels across both Investment Banking and Asset Management
Our predictions for 2017 are positive and we have already had a surge of roles in the first weeks back from the Christmas break. This suggests that 2017 will be a much more positive year compared to 2016, and we are expecting an increase in job flow compared to the previous year this has been reflected both on the permanent and contract side