As Q1 comes to an end, we thought it would be worth sharing our thoughts on the Product Control market and what we have seen recently. The market has undergone some recent changes and hopefully, the below helps to inform you of current candidate expectations, market rates and what the future looks like for Product Control.
- In Product Control, we primarily see the most volume in roles at AVP – VP level. At this level, there seems to be a preference for qualified accountants from the Big 4 rather than candidates that have started their career in PC.
- At the more senior end of the scale (Associate Director – Director level), banks tend to look in-house for their hiring, however, we have seen a few requisitions at Associate Director level.
- With few exceptions, banks across the board are only looking for domestic candidates, and will only consider sponsorship for the AD level and above.
- For the AVP-VP level, because of the current preference for qualified accountants from the Big 4, the typical salary ranges have been inflated in order to attract these in-demand candidates. This means that to be securing the best talent from the Big 4, banks would have to be offering £75k – £85k in order to stave off other banks and the possibility of a counteroffer
- Candidates that are not from the Big 4, with 2-4 years of PC experience in a bank, will generally not need to move for as much. These higher salary rates are especially important when the role requires rare/complicated product knowledge (Exotic Derivatives, Structured Rates, etc.) as the candidate pool is significantly smaller.
- At AD level, banks are generally looking to pay between £80k – 105k. As mentioned before, many banks opt to recruit from within when it gets to the Associate Director level. Candidates with at least 1-2 years of AD experience at a strong IB are likely to be looking for £100k+ so this is something to consider for the more senior hires. At this level, we have found that bonus structures and benefits become increasingly more important.
- On average, I’d say candidates look for a minimum £10k uplift on their salary. This can differ with the more junior PC roles, as the exposure & size of the bigger banks can be enough of a factor for them to move without a significant uplift in salary. Percentage wise, candidates will generally look to move for a 20-25% improvement in the basic salary. Candidates will often move for a lesser percentage, however the likelihood of a counter offer being accepted will naturally increase.
- Whilst I wouldn’t say we are experiencing a higher than usual level of counter offers, we have found it to be very rare where a candidate is only interviewing for one company, and through one agency.
- Candidates from Big 4 will always skew the usual PC level of pay and drive up the salaries to that £75-85k range.
- The usual reason we get for people moving out of PC is to perform broader roles, using their product knowledge in a more holistic way. Moves into Valuations and Financial Control are very common.
- We would expect to see an increase in role volume across the board in Q2. Various factors have led to a reduction in hiring for Product Control for Q1.
- As soon as most bonuses have been paid out, we would also expect to see an influx of Product Control candidates on the market.
- The AVP level is where we would anticipate the most volume, with an emphasis on candidates having exotic product knowledge.
Other points of interest:
- In terms of benefits/perks, a ‘flexible’ approach to flexible working still remains crucial to attracting candidates. Certain banks in the market are offering very attractive pension-matching schemes and pay structures as well.
- There is a shortage of high quality, domestic PC candidates. Lots of PC functions have been outsourced to India or Eastern Europe, and so a lot of quality PC candidates have since moved into other areas within finance. These candidates abroad can often be very good but can miss out because they need sponsorship.
- The attrition rate at UK based PC functions seems to be low compared to other sectors, it is quite rare to see a PC candidate regularly jump from bank to bank unless they are a serial contractor.
We hope that the above is helpful in your benchmarking for future roles. Please contact Edward Dowling with any comments or questions that you may have about the market.