Technology professionals in Financial Services in London continue to be in high demand as Automation continues to change traditional back, middle and front office departments.
Development teams are growing and new tech is being introduced daily, so forward thinking financial services clients are continuing to look for new talent and skills. We are also seeing retention strategies changing as firms look to hold onto their shining stars in a highly competitive market.
Women in Tech remains a hot topic in recruitment and HR circles and we are starting to see the benefits of government, education and industry initiatives in building interest with girls from an early age in STEM subjects. I even had to help my 11 year old daughter with her Python Homework recently (lucky I know a few Python Developers who helped me out).
Whilst we are still seeing a number larger firm’s offshoring their Tech teams to Eastern Europe and other locations, the London and Manchester Fintech surge has more than covered the available candidates and added a significant amount of new roles to the market.
IR35 has impacted the contractor market, particularly with larger firms as they switch contractors to PAYE Contract, FTC and Permanent in a blanket approach. The government has announced a potential review of IR35 being implemented in April but I don’t think any major changes will happen to change the fundamental legislation and allow the bulk of contractor workers to operate outside of IR35. A few forward thinking consultancy firms are capitalising with statement of work contracts outside of IR35 and snapping up key skills for their clients but most big Financial Services companies are not willing to consider teams working on projects which are not under the direction and control of the company and allow substitution of workers without approval.
There are a few generous companies who are assisting with the financial burden of the legislation by paying more or covering the national insurance contributions but most are offering a take it or leave it scenario to contractors. As a result, we are expecting busy times ahead in Q1 and Q2 2020 as workers look to secure the few outside of IR35 Statement of Work contracts, best paying permanent roles and best structured inside IR35 roles available.
The tail end of 2019 saw a high demand for Support Professionals across desktop (1st, 2nd and 3rd line), application support and infrastructure support roles. We have seen both contract and permanent roles across Buy and Sell Side clients with a core focus on experience supporting systems changes and upgrades as firms try to stay ahead of the technology and curve and compete for business.
Key skills in demand include Active Directory, VMWare, O365, SQL, PowerShell and Vermilion. As usual, clients are preferring candidates to already have relevant sector experience (particularly in App Support) along with ITIL knowledge and relevant qualifications.
Developers are always in high demand with a few clients even having open job specs for experienced front office Java, C# and Python Developers as they look to add exceptional skills as they come available. Key skills in this space continue to be React, Vue.JS, Microservices, Spring, PL/SQL, .Net and a few Quant Developer skills including Numpy and Panda.
We have also seen a high demand for Cyber Security skills and a recent conversation with a senior Technology Director at a US Investment Bank covered of the topic of physical security being just as important to ensure hardware containing sensitive data remains secure. This leads to more access control required (both physical and virtual) to ensure risks are minimised.
Testers are still in demand with a mix of Automation and Manuel Testing skills required. Data heavy applications are requiring bespoke test scripts to be run manually and legacy automation testing processes fail to meet the requirements.
We are expecting a busy Q1 and Q2 as contractors look to secure the best possible permanent roles or Statement of Work contracts as IR35 comes into affect. Most recruitment budgets have been signed off for 2020 and we are starting to see interesting projects launch (which have been on hold due to Brexit), which should add to the volume of movement in Technology professionals across the sector.
As Fintech continues its rapid growth we expect to see further demand for key skills across development, data management and infrastructure which in turn brings more testers, support professionals, cyber security and BI skills into the demand column.
Whilst we are still seeing a demand for Diversity across Technology in Financial Services, the focus is more on skills due to the speed at which technology is evolving. And now with Brexit potentially impacting free movement of skills from Europe into the UK, I am expecting an even bigger skills shortage in years to come.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.