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GDPR and IR35 driving recruitment in London despite Brexit, Morgan McKinley reveals

Morgan McKinley has showed in its 2018 Salary Guide for the UK, that 2017 was a year of cautious yet productive hiring in spite of Brexit. The guide revealed a lack of confidence from employers, with impending Brexit playing a leading role in the tentative hiring of permanent and contractor candidates.

This said, 2017 turned out to be a good year for hiring. Demand for niche skills and specialist knowledge was a big drive in accounting & finance, compliance, IT, risk management and tax sectors. Regulation hires were highly sought after in legal data, cybersecurity and business analytics, causing sharp salary rises. Further to this, GDPR and MiFID II resulted in new roles being created across HR, Cyber and Information Security for organisations that hold vast amounts of customer data including utilities and telecoms.

Key 2018 Salary Guide Highlights showed:

London, Home Counties and the South West showed a sizeable uplift in salaries, within finance at the newly qualified level and demand for more permanent heads

Huge swings were less apparent within London’s financial services in 2017 compared to previous years

Highest increase of contractors converted to permanent in three years; primarily due to changes to IR35 or off-payroll rules, for contractors within public sector

Increase in experienced contractors with transferable skills in disciplines such as IT, finance, projects and HR now looking to the private sector

Areas where skills are in demand surrounding new regulation, legislation or technology, contractors can command a premium

Regulation played an important role in the employment market, with organisations having to adapt their processes and equip themselves for GDPR and MiFID II

GDPR expected to open up over 28,000 data protection officer positions in EU alone

Expanding FinTech space made it more challenging for investment banks to secure their first choice candidate with start-ups and blockchain companies looking to hire technology specialists from Silicon Valley companies as well as banking communities

Hiring for data, business analytics, AI and machine learning roles in London (within healthcare, consulting and financial services industries) was higher than ever before

Legal hiring in 2017 saw a 25% year-on-year increase in job volumes, mainly caused by regulatory reform and change initiatives

David Leithead, chief operations officer of Morgan McKinley UK, said, “Hiring in 2017 was not driven by gung-ho expansionism, but there was a more positive sentiment in the market. Particularly in the second half of the year, we saw more employers acting opportunistically to take on new talent. Specialism was the watchword once more, with strong technical skills being highly sought after and rewarded. Despite the pervading concern and uncertainty around the economy, we experienced a year of growth in the UK which was a positive barometer of overall market conditions, and a good sign for 2018.”

Brexit played a leading role, influencing the hiring of both permanent and contractor candidates throughout 2017. In some cases, including a lack of confidence from IT employers, the impending exit from the European Union affected hires for the worse, whilst in others, such as for strategy aligned temporary banking roles, its influence was for the better. As a whole, 2017 was proof that despite political and economic turmoil, businesses in London, if a little tentatively, will carry on hiring.

This report provides a review of 2017 by analysing the condition of the employment market and unpacking the positive and negative news, in-demand skills and notable trends, as well as salary and contract rate figures in accounting & finance, audit, compliance, financial services operations, HR, IT, legal, marketing, office support, project & change management, risk management, sales and tax.

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