Suddenly, there’s demand for people who’ve been out of the market since 2008

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Six years is a long time to be twiddling your thumbs. When you’ve been out of the market for that long, you might think the time has come for a complete change of career. Right now, however, we’re seeing people who left banking in 2008 and who haven’t worked since getting hired again.

Admittedly, they’re not going into front office roles. The big areas of hiring now are operations and compliance. All compliance roles are hot, and within operations we’ve seen a massive increase in demand for people to fill Request for Proposal (RFP) investment writing roles.

Candidates with experience in these areas are being offered as many as seven different jobs and they can have the pick of the bunch. Five offers and a £20k pay rise in asset management compliance are not unheard of. And, as I’ve said, experienced people who’ve been out of the market since the financial crisis are being brought back in again. They tend to be hired directly by banks’ in-house recruitment teams, however, as banks don’t want to pay recruitment fees for them.

The skills shortage in compliance and operations is down to both demand and supply. Demand for people to fill these roles has increased massively. At the same time, the supply of young graduates who want to go into these roles is dwindling. In the past few years we had little problem filling compliance and operations roles with first class maths graduates with excellent A-levels. This year, they’re finding it easier to get into more desirable front office roles – leaving the pipeline of junior talent unfilled.

If banks want to hire in compliance and operations, they therefore have three choices. Either they need to move like lightening when they find an experienced candidate, or they have to pay over the odds, or they have to lower their standards and hire people without directly relevant experience. Alternatively, the can scour the country for former operations and compliance professionals who are now doing something else instead.  All three things are likely to become more common in future.

Jim Gervaise-Brazier is managing director of JGB Partners a specialist asset management recruitment firm

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