Manchester’s digital sector is worth £2.9bn to the local economy according to the latest Tech Nation report. The report also credits Manchester as having the largest agglomeration of digital jobs (62,653) outside of London. Last year, the city also made it to the top 20 in the European Digital City Index for starting and scaling a digital tech business. The convergence of Manchester’s two largest industries – financial services and digital technology has resulted in a growing cluster of FinTech businesses; from well-established companies supporting the financial services, to smaller firms developing novel solutions and disrupting current business models. We have seen particular success among those FinTech firms specialising in payments. Over the next 12 months, recruitment activity within the technology industry is expected to increase rapidly in Manchester in line with the advancement of FinTech in the region.
With growth expected to continue across the North West, concentrated in Manchester as FinTech start-ups emerge across the sector, professionals should anticipate an increase in demand for select technology skills over the next 12 months. This includes specialisms such as BI and Data Analytics, DevOps, Architecture and Software Development. As financial institutions go digital, Cloud skills will also be highly sought after in the candidate pool. We have noticed a lot of activity particularly across the payment space with both Clearpay and Access pay hiring over the last 6 months in the Developers and Data Science space. Last year, Access pay won £2m funding from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ Growth Finance in addition to last year’s Government funding, as part of its ongoing plans to expand into the US market. The permanent market remains very strong across the North West. Whilst the Perm market remains dominant, we have noticed an increase in contractors within the Software Development market, particularly in .Net.
The UK’s economic outlook remains uncertain with the Brexit deadline extended until the end of October, there has also been a big fall in the number of inward investment projects into the UK.. However, there is continued investment within Financial Services in the North of England; Metro Bank is set to open its first store in Manchester’s Arndale this year creating around 25 new jobs. It is the first brick and mortar site for Metro Bank in the North West with ambitious plans to launch 29 more stores in the North by 2025 – creating 750 new jobs and over 100 apprenticeships. We have seen strong results from existing Financial Services organisations within the North of England. Together Money has reported robust results as its loan book reached £3.47bn, North West lender Praetura Asset Finance has also posted record-breaking Q1 figures for the fifth consecutive year.
Just over a year ago, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking officially opened its doors for business in Manchester. In the space of a short period of time, the corporate banking team has already acquired a portfolio of blue-chip clients and beat all expectations. It was a bold move for any bank given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit supporting market Intel that Financial Services in the North is defying the Brexit doom and gloom. Lead indicators are also mixed with continued wage growth, unemployment at a 44 year low and the annual rate of growth in house prices remaining stable, being offset partially by weaker consumer spending. The continued investment and positive noise from businesses throughout the North-West has led to an increase in job flow, with a particular increase in more senior operational level roles. The interest in entry level and graduates has seen an increase towards the back end of Q2 with graduation looming and companies utilising the fresh raw talent available in the marketplace. Overall job flow has increased, companies are expanding and new organisations are arriving in the North. May the positive news continue!
On our Regional desk, we have seen a rise in Finance roles since the end of Q1 across a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from Finance Business Partners to reporting-centric roles. Regulation has been the key theme as our clients are looking to gain an advantage over their competitors in the regional market for talent. As such we have seen around a 30% increase in such positions compared to 2018 Q2. Business partnering and improving communication channels is an important part of any business and this is seen across our multinational clients, through to SMEs. We have had numerous conversations with candidates about the siloed nature of larger institutions yet we see a movement towards increased cooperation with other departments when taking a brief for new roles. 85% of job specifications in the last 12 months mention the phrases ‘stakeholder management’ or ‘improve relationships’ which suggests that business partnering is the key theme that runs through the finance of an organisation.
Non-Financial Services Accountants we need you!
Financial Services institutions in the North West remain committed to securing skillsets from varying backgrounds. Senior figures from large financial institutions believe that in the past they have discounted a strong calibre of candidates because they have had less exposure in an FS setting. In Finance around 60% of candidates we have recommended to our clients in Q2 have not been working for a financial services organisation in their current role and 40% have not worked in Financial Services previously. We will likely see these figures slightly increase for the second half of the year.
Top 3 Accounting roles Q2 (by volume):
- Financial Reporting Accountant
- Part-qualified Assistant Accountant
- Finance Business Partner
Risk & Compliance
According to the Institute of Risk Management; Cybersecurity, BREXIT, geopolitics and financial market fluctuations are among continuing concerns for businesses and financial services as a whole. These are likely to continue throughout 2019. There has been an increase in IT Risk and IT Assurance recruitment across the sector within Fintechs, Challenger banks as well as the Big 4. Consequently, the IRM is going to support businesses and risk professionals in understanding and managing the cybersecurity landscape which is a complex sector. Recruitment within IT Risk & Assurance is unlikely to slow down even in the current Brexit uncertainty, due to many organisations seeing these as critical, skilled roles. In regards to Compliance, there is continued need for experienced financial crime experts across the board. There are a number of trends which continue to dominate the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) field, these include: the continuing rise of technology, automation of AML and transaction monitoring.
Charlotte Bradshaw joins the regional team from Robert Walters as AVP in Technology and Change. So far Charlotte has successfully worked on roles such as .NET Developers, PMO Analysts, Business Analysts, Data Analysts and even Telephone Engineers! If you are looking for additional specialist support on a role in your team, please feel free to contact her.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.