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Increasingly optimistic outlook for financial services contractors

Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group

Contractors in the financial services industry had even more reason to be in good spirits when the Christmas period rolled around once again with the New Year expected to bring rises in both rates and the number of opportunities available to them. The most recent analysis of our contractor database indicates that financial services professionals can look forward not only to increased financial rewards but also a reduced amount of time between assignments as complex regulations continue to drive demand for the highly specialised skills of contractors.

With 87% of financial services contractors indicating that the average time spent between assignments was 0-31 days over the last 12 months, a figure which represents a significant 6% increase year on year, it’s clear that the demand for financial services contractors is on the rise. The shrinking gap between assignments reflects growing pressure from authorities for businesses to remain compliant with regulations as all signs point towards a recovery from the financial crisis that’s a long way off.

It’s apparent that this ever growing regulatory burden is expected to facilitate continued growth in the industry over the next year, particularly in the commerce and industry sector, where contractors indicated they expected there to be an increase in opportunities. While many commentators continue to criticise the banking industry for its failures, contractors are benefiting from the growing number of regulations that continue to be placed on the sector in an attempt to curb reckless behaviour. Figures also indicate that additional opportunities are expected to arise in both the public and accountancy sectors.

The pressure of compliance, however, is not the only factor driving opportunities up. Shortages across the core economic industries are leaving businesses with significant skills gaps. Statistics from Robert Half’s CFO Insights indicate that 90% of executives are struggling to find finance professionals to fill key roles so it’s no surprise that the demand for contractors with niche skillsets continues to rise.

These contractors are highly specialised and can lead organisations through periods where they will have a particularly ​challenging landscape to navigate and a significant amount of red tape to traverse. With our most recent survey indicating that skills development was the second most influential reason for becoming operated in this way, it’s clear that the industry has a lot to offer both professionals and businesses. In addition our analysis also highlighted that despite the broad-brush approach that the government has taken to contractor legislation over the last year, the number of contractors who would accept a permanent position has continued to fall.

Even against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the prospect of increased rates, opportunities and significant skills development means financial contractors have a reason to be optimistic as the year draws to a close.

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