As we enter 2020, we have remarkably noticed that in Q4 there has been a steady stream of new job opportunities released up until the very end of the year, with a considerable number of clients that continued to engage in the interview process with the view to identify the right hire by the start of 2020. Hence, we can note that the political situation – the delay of Brexit deadline and the election – has not had a whole negative impact of the job flow, but on the contrary, firms have continued to hire in spite of the political uncertainty.
However, looking back at the previous months, we have seen that interview processes for both permanent and contracting positions have become extremely thorough and the number of stages has increased to some extent. This can be a result of wider candidate competition as well as firms being keen to ensure that they hire the best individual, resulting in a more cautious and in-depth interview process.
As seen throughout the year, diversity and inclusion have continued to be key topics within the Financial Services industry, with more and more clients requesting to see shortlists of candidates from diverse backgrounds and experience. Moreover, firms are more invested in D&I’s initiatives and are more aware of the significance these initiatives have when it comes to candidates’ decision to join a firm. This has led to a considerable number of clients starting to offer more reasonable working hours, flexible working and a more diverse workforce.
Another key topic to mention is the upcoming changes in the Off-Payroll legislation and the impact IR35 has had on the market, as clients have had to assess their stance to IR35 as the regulation comes into place from April 2020.
As a result of this, we have seen a large number of short-term contracts, majority with an end date of February/March, as well as a number of fixed-term-contracts (FTC), and the reason for this is simply the fact that firms were still assessing their internal procedures and whether or not the contractors on-site were falling inside or outside IR35.
We have seen a similar trend to previous quarters with noticeably higher numbers of Business Analyst positions opening up in comparison to Project Management opportunities. There hasn’t been a lot of movement at the very senior end of Programme Management / Head of Change, but senior Project Managers and Lead Business Analysts have been in demand.
However, Project Management overall has started to become one of the most important functions within an organisation. From conversations with our clients it has become clear that project initiatives that are driven by their Business teams have increased and it is becoming more and more common that PM’s and BA’s are needed within BAU teams to shape and deliver these project initiatives. The few areas of expertise that have been in demand are Continuous and Process improvement, Re-engineering, TOM and Transformation space.
As we have noted in the previous quarter, Digital projects are one other area that both Buy and Sell Side clients have been allocating budgets for, and have released Business Analyst positions, with the aim to improve the overall client journeys and client experience.
Another key profile has been the role of Product Owner, which more and more firms have started to enquire about due to the appetite to deliver projects in a more Agile way. The key skillset required is a good understanding of the business and users, future trends, BA and PM experience.
In the Regulatory space we haven’t seen a huge amount of positions, as key regulatory changes such as EMIR and MIFID have become ‘business as usual’, but most roles have sat in the CSDR, SMCR, LIBOR reform space as well as Brexit related projects.
Looking ahead to 2020, hiring in the day-rate contract market may be dropping to some extent due to IR35 changes, but we expect FTC and permanent hiring to remain high. A majority of our clients have now communicated their stance to IR35, hence we would expect to see some movement on the contract market towards end of Q1 / beginning of Q2.
On the permanent market we would predict that start of 2020 might be quiet to some extent, due to Year End and bonus season, but we anticipate that this could change by mid-quarter when we would start seeing replacement hires.
As aforementioned, candidates from digital, process improvement and re-engineering space have been in demand and we expect that this will not change very soon, considering the plans that our clients have for the year ahead.
Also, as previously seen in Q3, a lot of our clients have shown increased interest in ESG and responsible investments. Some clients are ahead of others and leading the way, and this move towards ESG means that throughout 2020 we would expect to see some ESG related projects starting to take shape which will lead to hiring change individuals that demonstrate keen interest and passion in ethical and responsible investing.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.