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Despite increased pressure within the financial services industry employee attitudes remain fundamentally optimistic, according to the 2012 Michael Page Financial Services (FS) Global Employment Trends survey.

For 2011, 50% of respondents received a bonus which was the same or higher than 2010, with the majority of these respondents working in Europe and Asia Pacific.

However, Michael Page Financial Services, Managing Director, David Leithead said employees in the sector are increasingly confident about future bonuses.

“In fact, 85 per cent of our respondents expect that 2012’s bonus will be at least the same, or higher than 2011,” Mr Leithead said.

While employee confidence towards bonuses is up, base pay remained largely static at the turn of the year with 62% of respondents reporting that they did not receive a pay increase in 2011. The majority of respondents who did get an increase were in the Asia Pacific region.

With the sector under unprecedented scrutiny and staff cuts increasing workload an unsurprising 84% of respondents said they have considered leaving the sector. But most only do so occasionally. 23% regularly consider leaving, but reflect that it is unlikely they will do anything about it. Of the 18% of respondents already planning their exit, the majority are in the US.

The most common roles for financial services professionals considering a role outside the banking sector include working in not-for-profit or becoming an entrepreneur.

“Right now the compensation balance that normally exists between getting back what you put in is unsettled. It’s part of the cycle, but seems more acutely felt this time around. Employers need to focus on strategies for retention, not just at a company level but at a divisional and team level. People realise compensation is taking a back seat, so they are looking for something else,” Mr Leithead said.

The survey confirms that today compensation is not the biggest driver for financial services professionals looking to move roles. Career advancement and improving work/life balance were the two factors most often ranked as the primary concerns when searching for a new job. Escaping from stress/pressure at work and job security are considered the bottom of the priority list.

“Our analysis shows that it’s not necessarily an issue of coping with the pressure - that comes with the territory – but when long hours don’t come with commensurate financial compensation, cracks appear,” he said.

A recruitment firm and personal contacts are the most effective methods of securing a job, according to the FS Global Employment Trends survey. For now, social networking and approaching prospective employers directly are considered the least effective recruitment strategies.

“With growing hype around online business networking, one of the most interesting findings from our research was how people viewed using social media when searching for a role. More than 50 per cent of our respondents rated social networking as either not important or not an approach they would take. Only 10 per cent of people rating the effectiveness of social networking sites as a job search tool, felt that it was the most effective.

“Employers who cast the net as widely as possible, get the best returns when finding new talent – there’s no one silver bullet,” he added.


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