The start of 2022 has seen limited slow-down in the relentless volume of roles we saw in the post-COVID recovery phase, and the market remains exciting and ever-changing as we see the effects of the previous tumultuous years play out through the market.
The market has remained buoyant and there continues to be a high number of quality roles whilst being fewer quality candidates searching, making it highly candidate led. However, we are beginning to see an increased number of candidates looking for a new opportunity in comparison with the last quarters of 2021, which could be due to the bonus season or a decrease in the uncertainty surrounding COVID.
The candidate led nature of the market has led to several subtle shifts within the recruitment space. Firstly, it has meant that processes are needing to move swiftly, and clients are, and should be, working more proactively when a good candidate is interviewing. This is reflected often through reduced or minimal interview stages. We have also noted an increase in salary generally due to the short supply of quality candidates, and specifically with an increase in salaries in junior roles. Clients are seemingly much more willing to increase their offering with sign on bonus’s or have increased flexible around compensation.
The interview process has shifted in that we are seeing a slight increase in face-to-face interviews rather than the typical video call. Saying this, the majority are still virtual, and this is allowing candidates to be in multiple processes at once due to the ease of joining a video call rather than travelling to an office. The virtual nature of interview processes makes it highly convenient for both the client and the candidate, yet throws up problems not previously seen before. Its more difficult for the client to read into small details about the interviewee such as body language or energy, whilst the candidate misses out on seeing the office, learning about the culture and more. Hopefully as we move into the post COVID era we will see a more balance approach which will make the recruitment process smoother and more successful in the long run.
COVID has been disruptive in many areas, and a particular space where we have seen it impact is in the temporary contract space. There has been an increased requirement amongst candidates for permanent or more secure long-term contract roles, which can be put down to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the desire for security. The caveat to this however is for individuals with technical and specialized skills, such as UX/UI designers, who can make a lot of money from short term projects and thus are thriving in this market.
Finally, March 8th marked an important day in the calendar as International Women’s Day came around, serving as a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The theme this year was #BreakTheBias, which enabled us to share some fantastic initiative and programs, enabling genuine, positive changes to be made. In addition, Kirsty Pineger, Executive Director at Bruin, was invited to a panel discussion for Women in Finance Charter signatories which provided guidance and discussion around the current climate for females in the finance space.
Movers and Shakers
We have seen several senior hires in the asset management space over the past 3 months. With more of an emphasis placed on distribution strategy and business management, JO Hambro Capital Management hired Jonathan Rudling as Distribution Business Manager. He leaves Aviva Investors after nearly 4 years.
Honor Solomon is also joining Alliance Bernstein this quarter to head up the EMEA Retail Distribution function, further pushing their UK wholesale presence. She departs after a 7.5 year tenure in the same role at LGIM. Continuing on the retail/advisory channel, Quilter Cheviot have made 2 new hires to grow their regional coverage. Paul Keogh joins from RLAM to cover the East of England, and Mark Henderson leaves VitalityInvest to work on the London region.
It has come to light that Unigestion’s London based Head of Business Development, Dominik Kremer has left the business in March. His role is being split between Reto German (Global Head of Distribution), responsible for the sales aspects, and Cindy Badel (Head of Client Service) for marketing. Whilst in continental Europe, Manulife IM have appointed Nicole Kudlek to join the business as MD of Sales & Relationship Management for Germany. This is a newly created role, with Nicole moving on from Credit Suisse Asset Management in Frankfurt.
The start of the year has been and gone and there has been a real push for new hires, and we have been kept extremely busy in both the marketing and sales spaces.
Within sales, we saw a large amount of junior roles in Q4; however we have seen this develop into more senior hires over the past quarter – likely due to the increase in face to face meetings (post covid). This is evident amongst both the asset management and insurance markets, and ties in to most of the sales roles we have seen over the past 3 months, with them predominantly being positions that require a client acquisition or growth focus. Most companies and candidates in this space are relieved to be able to do more in-person activities, notifying a shift back to a pre-covid era. This also translates when looking at the increase in event manager/organiser positions that we have seen, solidifying the need for more ‘in person’ roles.
Within Asset Management, we have also seen a number of positions relating to general communications & engagement, both internally and externally. The continued need for internal communications specialist to articulate business needs to employees has been noted, as well as external requirements for media relations and corporate communications experts. These have been primarily at the mid-level, but we have seen some more leadership roles in this space come to market.
There have been an increased number of Digital marketing roles over the past few weeks; whether this be CRM focused; technical digital specialists such as social media experts or marketing automation specialists; as well as several marketing data analyst positions. It is clear from these roles that the asset management industry are keen to ensure that their digital marketing capability is effective and engaging, working to retain clients as well as winning new business.
Moving onto the insurance industry, we are seeing similar trends across digital and communications engagement. In the digital marketing space there is a clear focus on investment in online marketing methods as well as traditional means of marketing. These are varied amongst website management, social media and marketing automation.
Similar to the asset management side, we have also seen a push for creative comms roles in order to drive engagement. This leans towards communicating updates within the business (i.e. which charities the business is working with etc.), but is still key when looking to increase internal and external engagement.
Following an interesting and busy Q1, there are many developments within sales and marketing teams that we can expect over the next few months.
Heading into Q2, we expect to see a rise in the amount of candidates on the market, as well as the number of opportunities. This is down to a variety of factors including; the end of bonus periods, resulting in some candidates becoming more amenable to new opportunities, and higher salaries within the market, tempting top talent away, particularly at junior-mid level roles. Following the end of Covid restrictions, more organisations continue to solidify their working regulations, creating company or team policies for remote or hybrid working. This, in turn, could also trigger a flurry of candidates seeking new roles that fit what they are looking for in terms of flexible working and consequentially, organisations will need to recruit replacements.
Despite a need to replace talent within the business we can also anticipate plenty of new opportunities. Through Q4 and Q1 we have experienced a high number of new roles surfacing within Sales & Marketing teams, which should continue into Q2. We expect to see the return of events roles and have already seen some movement in this area with fixed term contracts coming up at many larger organisations. Sales teams are growing in order to keep up with the post Covid recovery and the return to face-to-face client meetings and events, requiring more field sales personnel and a larger sales support function. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for digital methods of communication as well as appealing and user-friendly websites and digital content which has resulted in large digital team build outs, we envisage that this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. Specialized marketing roles are increasingly common, with specific product marketing roles and those with an ESG focus appearing in the market more frequently to allow for companies to market these particular products more effectively.
Although these trends are more identifiable in the current market, we anticipate an eventful Q2 with opportunities arising throughout sales & marketing teams, at all levels.