Following a buoyant start of the year, Q2 has proved to be a busy period for majority of our asset management and banking clients, which have been hiring on both contract and permanent basis for their projects teams.
The operations contract market has been consistent throughout the quarter with hiring demands across the regulatory space, transaction reporting, client facing projects as well as contingency planning and remediation in preparation for Brexit programmes.
The permanent project space was more stable after a spike in hiring in Q1 as regulatory projects had been fully staffed or they turned to contractors as the deadline for MiFID 2 in early 2018 got shorter.
Towards the end of Q2 there was a significant shortage of candidates especially in the Business Analyst space between AVP (3-6 years experience) and VP (6-9 years experience). Bonuses were generally favourable often increasing slightly on 2016 which meant that retention was far easier and there were fewer replacement hires.
As a rapidly evolving marketplace, financial institutions are facing a variety of new legislation with the result that hiring trends have continued to be mainly regulatory in nature. Both sell-side and buy-side firms have been looking to hire experienced Business Analysts and Project Managers with SME knowledge of the regulatory landscape for contracting roles within MIFID 2, PRIIPS, UMR or GDPR.
In the contract space within the finance regulatory reporting area, our investment banking clients sought Senior Business Analysts / Project Mangers with solid knowledge of IFRS 9, AnaCredit and ICAAP. There was a limited amount of Project Manager positions being released in Q2, hence allowing employers to be highly selective. While some of the roles didn’t require in depth IT technical expertise, good knowledge of SQL and VBA constituted an advantage.
There has also been demand for solid broad operations change hybrid candidates for roles within various projects such as governance, infrastructure and migrations.
The recent political changes and uncertainty have had implications on the majority of financial institutions and we have noticed some of our clients have started to focus on remediation and corporate restructuring plans. This has lead to a desire for experienced Project Managers to lead their Brexit programmes.
Given the bounce back of activity in the equities markets towards the end of 2016, hiring has renewed across buy and sell side. With companies such as JP Morgan looking to capitalise on their market share in this space, hiring has ramped up. Although, the VP level Project Managers have been particularly hard to find as they often have moved into the contract space focused on the EMIR/MiFID 2 regulations.
Looking forward, the hiring needs across the contract and temporary market are expected to remain high and clients to continue to express demand for BAs and PMs for their regulatory projects.
Artificial intelligence and robotics is also an important area to watch – as the technology is rapidly evolving financial institutions are aware of the benefits of such evolution. We expect to see the hiring volumes increase in the digital, target operating models and automation projects.
As we have seen from JP Morgan already, moving into H2 hiring will be more strategically aligned rather than replacement hires after the bonus season of Q2. Areas of growth are likely to be digital projects and process re-engineering hires as investment managers look for efficiencies in an increasingly cost transparent business.