Despite the continued uncertainty of Brexit, we have had consistent demand in Operations across both Investment Banks and Asset Management. Q1 is usually a demanding period as processes tend to accelerate during bonus season and this year has been no different, with a steady stream of jobs released. With this increased activity in the market, clients tend to try and get ahead of their competitors – to the extent that some clients, predominately on the sell side, whilst not able to actively hire with Brexit decisions holding up processes, still continued to interview strong candidates to ensure momentum was not lost once approvals were obtained.
We have also seen high demand across the contract space ever since the referendum, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, with senior BAU employees finding more of their time occupied with Brexit plans, there has been a lot of backfilling. Secondly many firms have opted for contractors over permanent staff whilst the question of where to put their budgets remains unanswered with Brexit still in limbo.
On the permanent side, the market continued to have a steady flow of both senior and junior roles as clients looked to prepare their workforces for the upcoming bonus season and Brexit. As a result, optimistic market signs continued, in the form of interviews and placements, with firms looking to stabilise their workforce ahead of Q2.
Throughout Q1 we saw a variety of roles at all levels. At the more senior end there was a clear increase in regulatory reporting and data roles, particularly on the buy side. We also saw an increase in demand for junior data positions, usually on a contract basis at both Asset Managers and Investment Banks. These tended to be driven by backlogs from system changes and / or implementation, with some firms now going back to in-house systems from outsource vendors and others implementing new systems all together.
We have also seen multiple roles across trade support in the UK, particularly in the equities space as organisations establish new EU entities. Significant numbers of incumbent staff have been deployed to see these initiatives through, which has resulted in some new permanent headcount opportunities, which offer some attractive variety given the added prospect of project work. Where short term resource was required, contractors were deployed to backfill these BAU roles or provide a specific niche skill-set.
It is evident that firms are looking to bring in operations candidates with a broad skillset, in a continued push towards a lean environment. Regulatory knowledge and the ability to automate processes are examples of this, and candidates with relevant experience are in high demand as a result.
Over the next few months we anticipate the usual increase in client and candidate activity as hiring plans are confirmed following the distribution of bonuses. In particular, European requirements are likely to be an area of focus as Investment Managers strengthen their presence on the continent. So far this year our dedicated European desk has noted strong demand across a number of disciplines including Fund Operations & Oversight, Valuation, Pricing and Data Management. Over the last 12-18 months Luxembourg has been a key focus, which is a trend we expect to continue as the demand for local financial services professionals outstrips supply.
BRUIN recently hosted a breakfast seminar ‘Achieving EthniCity’ focusing on BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Group) representation in financial services. We were delighted to be joined by hiring managers, HR business partners, D&I professionals and talent acquisition specialists to share strategies for change and overcoming challenges to inclusion.
For more information on this or similar events, please contact your consultant.