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Hiring plans within financial services continue despite Brexit uncertainty, Hays reveals

Financial services organisations are continuing with their hiring plans as competition for talent remains high despite ongoing uncertainty driven by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. According to a new report out today from Hays Financial Markets, over two-thirds of employers plan to recruit over the next 12 months, with the majority hoping to hire permanent staff.

In a survey of over 900 employers and employees working in banking and financial services, the Hays Financial Markets Salary Guide 2018, shows hiring is being influenced by regulatory changes including MiFID II and GDPR as competition grows for the talent needed to implement change. 

More organisations increased salaries this year than anticipated, at 72%. 43% of employers increased salaries by up to 2.5%, and 13% increased salaries by more than 5% in the last year. Larger salary increases are seen across financial crime compliance, as well as areas including finance technology including data science, cyber security and infrastructure.

Despite pay increases, plans to move have not been distilled for workers, as salary dissatisfaction is prompting many to look for new opportunities. Over half (56%) expect to move roles in the next 12 months, with a third saying this is due to their salary and benefits package.

Recruiting new talent is a top priority for employers, who are planning to hire regardless of political and economic factors. Positively, 60% are focused on permanent hiring, as organisations take a long-term view of their recruitment strategy.

As employers add to their workforce to tackle regulatory changes and plan for the future, competition for talent is intensifying. 61% report experiencing moderate to extreme skills shortages this year. Over half say skills shortages are impacting on productivity in their organisation, as well as having an effect on innovation, employee morale, growth and profit.

Aside from finance skills, managerial and leadership acumen and technology skills are highly sought after with employers requiring professionals with data and analytics knowledge as well as IT infrastructure and cyber security. An increase in the need for technology skills reflects the number of digital transformation projects underway as many organisations adapt their digital offering to better meet the needs of customers.

Over half (56%) of workers within financial services and banking roles are planning to move jobs within the next year, with a further 22% expecting to move roles in the next one to two years. 36% of workers cited their salary and benefits package as the main reason for wanting to move roles, despite close to three-quarters of employers increasing salaries this year. Additionally, close to half of employees (43%) report no scope for career progression in their current role.

Employees also report work-life balance is a top priority when considering a new role. Flexible working is the most important benefit when considering a new job for over two-thirds (68%) of professionals. Encouragingly, employers are recognising the importance of offering flexible working opportunities to employees to both attract and retain talent, with 82% saying they offer flexible working, up from 77% last year.

Mark Staniland, managing director of Hays London City, said, “It’s promising that despite market uncertainty, financial organisations are continuing to hire as regulatory changes come into play and digital advancements are creating the need for organisations to constantly adapt and remain up-to-date. However, competition for talent is strong and persistent skills shortages have the potential to limit productivity, growth and innovation – all of which could harm the City’s ability to remain competitive on a global scale.

“Over a third of employers told us that innovation within their organisations is being hampered as a result of skills shortages, which is over 10 percentage points higher than the UK overall. Given how critical innovation is to financial institutions, this should set alarm bells ringing and prompt employers to take action.”

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