How does recruitment differ in the financial industry?
Ben Barlow, freelance financial writer, discusses what's old, what's new and what's changing.
In its most basic form, recruitment is a simple process of identifying talent to fill specific job roles within a company. Given this, it would appear as though the recruitment industry in the UK is booming at present, particularly with the national unemployment rate currently fixed at an 11-year low of 4.9%. Not only are recruiters successfully matching candidates with job opportunities across multiple industries, for example, but they are also benefiting from a larger and more qualified pool of talent.
If we delve deeper beneath the surface, however, we begin to see that the recruitment industry is fragmented and faces different demands in each individual sector. Take the financial market, for example, which forces companies to hire employees with a clearly-defined set of skills and in accordance with stringent regulations. This, along with a host of global economic challenges, makes the process of recruitment far more challenging for financial firms that it is for those in alternative sectors.
How is financial recruitment different?
Of course, some of these points can be made about skilled recruitment in general, so it is worth addressing the precise differences that exist between hiring financial employees and those in similar markets. Here are some of the most prominent examples: -
Financial employees must be vetted according to stringent guidelines
In most markets, you apply for a job, submit your resume and attend an interview in order to be considered for a desired position. Although these stages can pose challenges to candidates, the process itself is relatively simple while the decision of the employer usually rests on factors such as your performance and underlying set of skills.
There are other considerations in the financial industry, however, regardless of the job role that you are pursuing. If you are applying for a position where you will be required to handle money or execute third party financial transactions, current regulations dictate that in most instances you must have a clear credit history. Most recruiters (and particularly outlets such as banks and financial advisory offices) will therefore vet your credit history prior to offering you a position, so it is crucial that you can present a positive score if your application is to be successful.
Without this, your application with automatically fail, regardless of your suitability for a specific role or the value that you can bring to it.
Rigid regulations make it hard for UK firms to recruit top talent
While we have already touched on rigid, financial market regulations, this has a far wider impact on the recruitment sector as a whole. This is particularly true in the banking and financial services markets, where incredible levels of external intervention and political unrest are posing considerable challenges for recruiters across the globe.
The issue is far more pertinent in the UK at the moment, however, thanks largely to the looming spectre of Brexit. While Article 50 has not yet been triggered, there remains huge uncertainty in the financial services sector, with central hubs in London primed to lose thousands of jobs and companies look to relocate abroad. This will cause leading industry talent to move to EU nations, making it far harder to recruit high quality candidates for position in the UK.
A similar challenge is being faced in the banking sector, although this is also one that applies to the EU as a whole. Here, the fear remains that increased regulatory restrictions and bonus caps will force top talent outside of the EU completely, particularly as emerging economies continue to compete for aggressively in this space. Make no mistake; these are challenges that will place huge pressure on financial recruitment in the UK and the EU in the months ahead, as the process of identifying and securing high quality candidates becomes increasingly complex.
A diverse market drives the demand for specialist and clearly-defined skills
On a fundamental level, the financial industry is exceptionally diverse and driven by the demand for specialist and refined skills. From CFD share trading on the financial markets to brokering mortgages, each fiscal job role requires a unique skill-set and a specific level of education that candidates must possess on their resumes. Without these base skills and accreditations, you will unable to secure any of skilled and well-paid financial role, while even entry-level positions will require you to build your academic knowledge as your work.
There are few industries that boast the diversity of the financial sector, while the sheer range of viable skills makes recruitment both easier and more difficult to manage in equal measure. While it may be easier to identify viable candidates for work and eliminate those who are unsuitable, for example, it is difficult to find quality applications with the right skills to fill individual roles. This is a delicate balance that all financial recruiters face, while it is also one that distinguishes this market from many others.
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