The Operations market experienced a positive 2015, culminating with a busy fourth quarter. The temporary and permanent markets both picked up notably towards the end of year with much more activity than that of the summer months. In the permanent market, we saw some hiring freezes at Investment Banks come into effect towards the end of Q4 which was expected, with most freezes taking effect at the more senior level but not affecting AVP level and below. This had a knock on effect on the temporary market in a positive way and we saw an increase in hiring in this space as an alternative solution in some firms where permanent headcount was not possible.
October and November were particularly busy months and although we saw fewer permanent roles come to the market in December, job flow remained strong in the temporary market. Over the quarter there were also more movement at the junior end as senior candidates typically tend to wait until after bonus time to start their job search.
There is still an emphasis on direct hiring for the larger institutions, however a number roles came through this quarter as hiring managers looked to fill key hires quickly before the end of the year. Near and off-shoring in the operations market continues to be a focus for many larger institutions, though there have been cases of headcount coming back to London, especially in client facing or more technical roles.
In summary, Q4 has been a positive quarter in the job market, to finish a more positive year as a whole. We expect the market to remain buoyant into the new year, providing a positive start to 2016.
We anticipate 2016 to be more positive overall for Financial Services which will have a knock on effect for the job market as firms continue to grow in confidence. Whilst we expect Q1 of 2016 to be buoyant, January is normally a quieter period in the permanent job market as candidates and companies tend to wait until bonus announcements have been made. Companies will look to plan where to spend their permanent hiring budget during January, but once we get into February and March the job market will begin to pick up.
While the permanent market may be slower in January, we expect the temporary and contract market to be busy as firms look to secure candidates in on a contract basis if they are not able to get sign off for permanent headcount in critical positions.
We expect to see the focus on hiring candidates in the regulatory area to continue into Q1 and throughout 2016, with a focus on preparing for the incoming MIFID 2.
In Q4 the main focus for hires remained in the regulatory space, with both Banks and Asset Managers looking to increase their reporting capacity before new regulations come into place. Candidates with decent regulatory knowledge were in high demand and in particular candidates with MIFID 2 exposure.
Equity Derivatives has been a busy area this quarter with several banks hiring at the same time, which caused competition over the best candidates in the market, enabling them to command higher salaries. With candidates sometimes being in the process with several companies at once, the quicker the hiring process was, the more likely it would not lose momentum and the preferred candidate could be secured.
It was also a busy quarter in the Corporate Actions space, as Banks and Asset Managers looked to get new hires in place before Q1 next year and dividend season. Outside of these, Q4 was a busy quarter in the Securities Lending area on both the temporary and permanent market. Candidates with tax knowledge around FATCA, CDOT and CRS have also been in high demand.
In the more competitive areas of the job market this quarter we have witnessed a marked prevalence of institutions looking to counter-offer candidates, as they looked to retain employees with in-demand experience.
This quarter the majority of opportunities came at the junior end of the market, from entry level up to AVP level. Senior opportunities released during this quarter were all essential, time-pressured hires.