Q3 on the permanent side was a quieter period than Q2 as the market slowed over the traditional holiday period of August and September. The demand for candidates still remains high, but the already very competitive candidate driven market was made more difficult by the number of hiring managers being away which held up the hiring process.
The overall demand for candidates has been higher within junior roles (Associate to AVP) as opposed to senior roles (VP and Director level), this could be due to a growing trend among some Investment Banks to promote internal recruitment from within the bank, due to budget constraints on some aspects of recruiting externally. This is not an indication of the market slowing down in terms of recruitment per se, but an increase in demand for AVP roles within banks and the need to promote Associates from within.
Similar to the perm market, contract roles within finance over the past quarter has also been somewhat steady as expected, owing mainly to the number of decision makers etc. being away over these months. We have seen a fairly even split between Asset Management and Investment Banking in terms of the number of roles released over August and September period.
As we move into Q4, we fully expect the contract market to pick up significantly. As we move towards the end of the calendar year, we expect hiring managers to bring in contractors to help push through any additional work/projects that have a deadline either before the Christmas period or the start of Q1 2016.
On the perm side, the market is expected to slowdown for the Christmas period, and pick up in the beginning of next year. However, many banks and FS firms will be conscious of recruiting candidates within the next quarter as bonus season approaches.
We have seen a number of junior roles within fund accounting, split across asset managers and custodian. Product knowledge has been key in all of these roles, with the level and depth of knowledge of specific products being a primary requirement for the vast majority. These roles have been a lot more narrowly focused than in the past, with candidates being asked to specialise in a small number of areas as opposed to having a broad amount of responsibilities.
Within the permanent and contract space at there has been high demand for Product Controllers at a junior level. These roles fall into two categories: roles requiring solid accounting background (usually requiring candidates with a ‘Big 4’ background, or candidates who specialise within a specific product class and understand some of the more technical elements of the role and product class.
There have been a small number of more senior level roles within Investment Banking, with the focus on process improvement/project based work. These roles have required candidates with both the technical accounting skills surrounding a specific area, and also the ability to communicate these numbers to non-Finance stakeholders within the business.
Treasury and Regulatory candidates have also remained in high demand due to increase in regulatory requirements and restraints.
Q3 also saw a large number of candidates from practice become fully qualified accountants. Qualified accountants from practice firms are largely focusing their job search within the Front Office space, like equity research, which has affected recruitment for accountants within the middle office.