PricewaterhouseCoopers has declared all sorts of problems in managing the massive demand for its financial services regulatory consulting services.
The Financial Times today points out that PWC's consulting sales to its financial services clients rose 18% year-on-year in the 12 months to June 30th.
Unfortunately, such growth may not be replicated in the coming 12 months. Although PWC expects to hire 600 people in the UK in addition to its 1,200-person graduate intake, it doesn't have the wherewithal to employ lots more regulatory consultants, most of whom are now demanding higher pay.
"We have not budgeted for double digit growth in financial services," the FT quotes PWC chairman Ian Powell as saying. Powell also said there's wage inflation in regulatory consulting these days.
Consultancy recruiters shed a little light on why this. Firstly, regulatory consulting is boring and firms like PWC are having to pay up to attract people into it. Secondly, consultancies are incredibly fussy about who they'll hire - meaning that although there's a talent shortage, it's not easy to get a job here.
"Regulatory consulting is not as exciting an area as things like corporate strategy," explains David Howell at recruiters EM Group. "Therefore there isn't the same supply of candidates going into it and pay has risen simply to attract people."
Eddie Mason, a recruiter at PSD Group, says consultancies like to hire their own kind and are always keen to hire risk and compliance professionals with purely banking experience. "Consultancies tend to be attracted to candidates that have a consultancy background," he says. "If you don't have that experience they might recruit you at assistant manager level, but pay rarely compares to banking."
Recruiters claim senior consultants at the Big Four can generally expect a salary of 40-60k, plus a 20% bonus. At that price, people currently working in banks aren't very interested, while people who've worked in regulatory consulting already are bursting to do something more interesting instead.
"Regulatory consulting is just about ensuring compliance with preordained systems and processes," says one recruiter. "It's difficult to be polite about the kind of people who want to do this," he adds, rudely.