By Helen Firth, Manager, Morgan McKinley
Overview of Accounting & Finance in Banking Recruitment
Banks increased their recruitment of temporary Accounting & Finance professionals across both Regulatory Reporting and Product Control as the summer hiring lull ended.
A number of external factors have played a key role so far this year, not least Brexit uncertainty and the impact of IR35 on longer term contract opportunities. Despite this, the flow of jobs for various finance roles has been consistent across different sized banks.
The only regulatory concern has been the growing consideration for IR35 and how it will affect contract hiring for the rest of 2019 and into 2020. Some banks have been hiring employees on Fixed Term Contracts or permanently rather than contractors in an attempt to protect themselves, whilst others have maintained their hiring of contract professionals, with contracts in some instances running until the latter half of 2020.
Banks’ requirements have varied enormously, looking to hire across numerous disciplines. The smaller banks have been concentrating within Financial Control, from Finance Business Partners to low level accounts processing roles. In contrast, larger banks have focused on Regulatory Reporting jobs, Accounting Policy and Performance Management roles. Product Control has remained an area of consistent hiring and we expect this to continue as investment banks spread their presence across new products.
There has been a marked increase in recruitment of temporary professionals across the regulatory reporting market in recent months. This has largely been due to the fact regulatory reporting is fundamental to the bank’s operation, and demand has been further intensified by a lack of appropriately skilled candidates. An increase in hiring was also seen across Product Control, with the smaller banks looking to strengthen their functions in that area and subsequently snapping up candidates leaving roles at big banks where Product Control has been offshored. In contrast, we noticed a decrease in Finance Business Partners and FP&A vacancies as banks tended to opt for internal promotions over hiring externally.
Technical accountants have been consistently in demand in banking, particularly from the Big 4 for Newly Qualified level accountants, right through to high level policy accountants – this specifically picked up around the IFRS space. These roles have been business critical as the turbulent market has meant more scrutiny is placed on numbers and the regulators being more stringent than ever before.
Workplace wellness has risen to prominence over the last few years with some candidates making this their number one priority when considering an external move. For some, working within a finance function in a high pressured environment can be mentally strenuous and employees can find themselves working extended hours depending on the time of year or month.
Whilst many industries are taking strides to improve the wellbeing of their employees, it hasn’t been such a focus for the banking market, especially at challenger and smaller banks. Some of the big banks have more of a focus on workplace wellness but this is inevitably because they have greater access to the necessary resources.
However, in order for companies to successfully retain their employees, they have had to become much more flexible around working from home initiatives and driving diversity within their organisation – this is what professionals value nowadays. There has also been a drive to offer more involved roles within the business, such as business partnering and project based roles, as professionals seek to broaden their experience.
Accounting and Finance in banking jobs tempt top level candidates by offering:
- Heightened flexible working
- 4 day weeks
- Higher salaries for mid-level staff
Contributors to success for job seekers
Junior – Find stability, don’t frequently change roles if possible. Be clear on your career aspirations and clear on what you want to achieve.
Mid-Level – In an interview process, you may find yourself up against individuals with similar experience and qualifications to your own. Think about what sets you apart, what is your greatest achievement and what are you most proud of.
Senior – Typically, you will get an interview based on merit and the perception that you are able to do the role. Part of your interview process will entail you “convincing” senior management that you are capable. Do not make assumptions, cover all eventualities and possibilities using a thorough and organised structure in interviews.
Looking towards the end of 2019…
We are anticipating a busy start to the last few months of the year, although it’s incredibly difficult to predict anything in these uncertain times! A number of banks have mentioned how they are waiting on sign off for numerous roles; this displays the pipeline appears to be there and could result in an influx of hiring.
With a general election in December and a decision on what happens with Brexit pushed back to January 31st 2020, we do not anticipate mass changes in recruitment trends during this period of political uncertainty.
Those looking for contracts in the banking space should pay particular attention to their preparation if they want to be successful in an interview. There has been a seismic shift towards extended questioning beyond just the specific role – almost every interview will include questions about the wider business and why you might want to secure an assignment there.
In order to make the most of the unpredictable market, it’s important to be flexible and open minded. Listen and take advice from your recruiter: just because a role has a certain job title, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will only include those tasks.