2022 is set up to be an extremely busy year for hiring in the Credit, Risk and Quant spaces, with an abundance of Q4 2021 mandates carrying over into the first quarter after the usual December holiday break, and firms drawing up extensive hiring plans to take advantage of some favourable market conditions. Candidate attraction across these verticals remained the biggest challenge for us across these verticals in Q4, and it was almost universally the case that candidates interviewing actively had more than one process on the go. A lot of effort has gone into pipelining passive talent for the New Year in the past quarter, and we are confident this will pay dividends in Q1.


Although a more substantial return to the physical office has been delayed somewhat due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19, we anticipate that conversations around flexible/remote working procedures will continue to dominate the hiring agenda into 2022, particularly in regards to roles outside the front office.


We have once again produced a salary survey for our areas of vertical coverage, which offers the latest insights into fixed and variable compensation based on significant sample sizes of candidates across seniority ranges. If you would like to receive a copy, please reach out to one of our consultants. Also included in this commentary are some pointers on how to get the best out of recruitment suppliers in the current buoyant market.


From a growth perspective, building on the successes we’ve had recruiting in the UK and Europe, we will be expanding our geographical coverage in governance to include North America. To this end, we are looking to hire a researcher to assist with our expansion in this area by helping with candidate sourcing and attraction. If you know of anyone looking to start a career in recruitment in a delivery-focused role please feel free to put them in touch with one of our consultants (no prior experience required just a willingness and capacity to learn!).


Finally we’d like to wish you all a happy new year and we look forward to working with you in 2022.


Buy side risk:

Over the past quarter, candidates with private markets/alternatives experience remained in demand on the buy side in both Investment and Operational Risk. Given the niche nature of the positions and the relative scarcity of candidates with the direct experience, we have completed a number of these hires on a retained search basis. Going into the new year, we anticipate that operational risk candidates with ICARA/ICAAP frameworks experience will continue to be in demand.


We have also observed a buoyant market for junior talent in IT Risk and Data Privacy on the buy side, with many firms seeking to organically grow talent in an ever-evolving technology landscape. Often these positions prove to be suitable for people looking to move from another sector into financial services, so we welcome referrals of people outside the industry looking to get into the finance sector.


Sell side risk:

From a Market Risk perspective in Q4, desk-facing XVA Market Risk managers remained in significant demand in Investment Banking, mainly at the VP level. There was also a high demand for candidates with Fixed Income (specifically exotic derivatives) and Credit (CDS etc) experience at AVP and VP level. It’s becoming more and more common for clients to demand programming capabilities in these roles (Python in particular), so there are potential sources of talent in the market risk analytics/front office quant development space for candidates who also have the personality to work with traders on a day to day basis. These skills are also in demand from risk management functions at hedge funds, so there can be stiff competition from that world in hiring processes.


From a credit perspective, the NBFI credit market was busy in Q4, with hiring appetite mainly driven by the larger banking organisations. Candidates at VP level saw the most demand. Operational risk was in relative terms quieter than other areas, with most hiring occurring at the junior level focused on first line reporting.



In Q4 we saw a significant upswing in demand for candidates with experience in the commodities sector, with demand being driven from both Investment Banks with long-standing commodities businesses and Hedge Funds looking to build out commodities trading arms. These roles have been a mix of infrastructure development and quantitative research, and so candidates have had to show expert proficiency in both financial mathematics and object-oriented programming to be considered. There was also a high level of demand for Data Science candidates within the asset management sector, as a number of larger investment management firms continued to expand their capacity to utilise data science techniques in the investment process.


We have also seen a resurgence in demand from the investment banking sector for model development quants across all ranges of seniority and risk classes, and continue to help clients source strong and diverse talent across the sector. We anticipate that a high level of demand will continue into the new year.



As part of our commitment to championing the promotion of diverse talent in financial services, Bruin will be hosting a panel discussion and networking event in conjunction with BWAM (Black Women in Asset Management), which will centre around the latest research on creating inclusive organisations for Black women; how to remove the barriers blocking progression in the industry and BWAM’s transformative Leadership Accelerator programme. Open to attendees across financial services, this event will take place on the evening of the 22nd February in-person in London (subject to Covid-19 government guidance) – for more information and to reserve a place please contact one of our consultants.


Getting the best out of recruiters in a buoyant market:

In a hiring market as competitive as this one, it is important for firms to ensure that the vacancies they are looking to fill are top of the priority list of the external recruiters they engage. As a team with over 25 years combined experience, and a consistent track record of delivery over the last decade, our team are currently in a privileged position of having a large volume of mandates to source for. It should come as no surprise that higher resource allocation will be given to those mandates which maximise potential revenue. There are three ways for clients to ensure that their roles are being prioritised: higher fee percentages; vacancy exclusivity and retained fee structures.


Higher fee percentages is an axiomatic attractive quality for firms recruiting on a contingent basis, and in candidate-short markets it’s important that firms are competitive with their peers and rewarding of the recruiters time in cultivating a network through years and years of relationship building in the market.


Vacancy exclusivity (where “exclusivity” = sole agency mandated to source candidates for the position where no agency search has already taken place) ensures that the recruiting firm can take time to provide an in-depth search of the market before presenting tailored shortlists of ideas, knowing that there aren’t multiple other agencies trying to speak to exactly the same people about the exact same job, which cheapens the brand image of the firm. A candidate saying “you’re the third agency who’s contacted me about this role” doesn’t make anyone look good, and can significantly confuse the narrative around a hire, which reduces chances of a successful filling of the vacancy.


Retained fee structures cover the costs of a recruiters’ time, show commitment from the client to filling the vacancy, and cement standards for both sides to be held accountable to during the process. With an up-front fee, the recruiter has been paid for their time up-front, and therefore must prioritise the vacancy over others.