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People crisis risks stalling financial services sector growth

The latest data from APSCo reveals that permanent and contract vacancies have surged in the last year (26% and 53% respectively.)

Institutions hiring both & lsquo;business critical’ and & lsquo;business as usual’ positions

The impressive growth in finance and accounting vacancies is indicative of a renewed confidence within City institutions, APSCo’s data reveals.  This is a sentiment reflected in the latest survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the CBI which reveals that Britain’s financial services firms expect to employ as many as 1.16 million staff by the end of quarter two 2014.

John Nurthen, Executive Director Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts comments:

“There is a strong correlation between growth in finance and accounting roles and GDP growth so, as the economy has strengthened, increased business demand for forecasting, budgeting, planning and analysis is entirely expected. M&A and business transformation activity will also be more prominent in a more buoyant economy. There are a number of other factors, however, driving growth in finance and accounting roles such as enhanced regulatory requirements, changes in reporting, globalisation, and the growing importance of business intelligence and & lsquo;big data’.

Encouragingly APSCo’s data also reveals that, whilst much of the growth in recent times has been focused solely on business critical positions – primarily in response to stringent regulatory requirements imposed on firms – hiring for non-business critical positions has also gained momentum once again in a further sign of employer confidence. This is a sentiment reflected in APSCo member, Morgan McKinley’s latest Employment Monitor. Financial Services operations director, Hakan Enver, commented, “Whilst much of the past year has seen demand within the contract jobs market, recent data shows that this is now beginning to stabilise. On the other hand, there has been a huge uplift in the permanent jobs market which is reflected in our 10% month-on-month jobs growth figure.”

Employers using salaries to entice candidates in response to skill shortage

Despite the impressive growth across both the contract and permanent recruitment market, APSCo has warned that the sector is at risk of a skills shortage which could stall future expansion.  This sentiment is in keeping with the PWC/CBI survey which found that 86% of financial services firms fear a lack of qualified candidates could constrain growth.  In the short term it would appear that some institutions are using hefty salary rises to entice candidates to move positions.  Morgan McKinley’s data, for example, revealed that in the past month alone there had been an average salary increase of 20% for jobseekers securing new positions – a sign that firms are looking to offer above market rates to ensure they have the requisite skills on board.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo commented, “Our data reveals that the first few months of the year have been a real turning point for the professional staffing sector with impressive growth across all sectors.    Despite this positivity, however, our focus on financial services this month really brings home the message that looming skills shortages could severely halt this growth if action isn’t taken soon.  While employers are currently using salaries to entice individuals from one role to another, there is only so long this can carry on for in a limited pool of qualified candidates. Furthermore, with Vince Cable’scall for banks to offer more moderate salaries rather than the & lsquo;ridiculous’ pay levels currently in place at some institutions, this form of enticement may soon be a thing of the past.”

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