Times are changing in the project management market. The downturn in the financial services jobs market in 2009 and 2010 led to a considerable increase in projects vacancies as financial services organisations looked for professionals who could support process improvement initiatives and drive cost efficiencies. At that time, firms were especially interested in hiring business analysts and project managers who could fit into existing structured programmes.
Now, the market has moved on. Banks are still focused on costs, but they are also responding to regulatory demands and have been looking to hire change management specialists for their project vacancies. Roles today include anything from offshoring and nearshoring programmes and the analysis behind these, to looking at the way data is treated (in line with regulatory response) to control changes in the front office.
The knock-on effect of this is that you now need a broader skill set to work in projects than a couple of years ago. Instead of solely gathering information or data and analysing it, today’s project managers also need to be experienced at project planning, stakeholder management, risk, issue logging and milestone management. In other words, they’ll be able to work on a number of projects at any one time and to do so at both a granular/analytic and strategic level.
Unfortunately for people who have been made redundant from other areas of banking, we’re now in a market where change has reverted back to being a skill set in itself. Change management jobs are no longer going to subject matter experts who move into change management as a career change from their ‘line’ roles. .
The good news for people who do have change management skills is that banking employers are now interested in applying your expertise across the industry.
True change professionals are given work that plays to their strengths and – more often than not – offers excellent career development opportunities.
To secure the best change management jobs in banks, you’ll need a strong change background and process re-engineering abilities. Experience acting as an interface between technology and the business is a definite advantage. Employers want people who can drive change and work autonomously, whilst maintaining a hands-on approach to their work. Regulatory knowledge is still highly sought-after from both a systems and process perspective, with EMIR/Dodd-Frank, FATCA and Basel III experience especially in demand.
Daily rates for change managers currently range between £500– £700 ($789-$1,104) and contract lengths and notice periods are increasing as firms look to provide improved stability. Typically, you can expect a project role to last for 6 -12 months and be on a month’s notice period.
Charlotte Dixon, is Senior Consultant in projects recruitment at recruitment firm Robert Walters in London.