Change management was the place to be if you wanted to earn huge amounts as a contractor. As banks were forced to push through transformation initiatives at the behest of regulators, they were willing to pay anything from £500-1,200 a day to get the right people on board.
Understandably, there’s been something of an imperative to bring these people in full-time. Deutsche Bank, for instance, has around 55 people globally working in its business services group, which deals with transformation, while Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have all been bulking up their full-time change management headcount, according to recruiters.
“The contract market for change managers has stalled, so the smart people are looking to get into a secure position within a bank,” said one London-based financial services recruiter. “Even if this means taking a pay cut.”
In the long run, this may prove more lucrative. A senior change management professional working in an investment bank can bring in £115-125k, according to Peter Milne, director of financial services at Robert Walters. Meanwhile, contract rates are more likely to be towards £500 a day, rather than the highs seen previously, or £170k a year, assuming 25 days holiday annually.
“Banks are building up a bench of expertise, which can be deployed on to different projects when required,” said Milne. “It’s also easier for banks to employ people full time in order to interact and gain the knowledge of a company's inner workings and key stakeholders. It’s much harder for contractors or external consultants to ingratiate themselves with people in the business and deliver results in a timely manner.”
Despite this, some banks are still bringing in consultants for change management projects in order to avoid adding headcount – Morgan Stanley takes this route, for example – which can stretch to £2,000 a day. Part of this is down to the broad array of projects these consultancies will take on, combined with their aggressive marketing tactics, which means banks often plump for consultants over contractors.
Nonetheless, recruiters suggest that there’s still an ongoing shortage of change management professionals willing to take the full-time route.