At last month's IR Magazine Think Tank, Debbie Nathan hosted a roundtable discussion on Investor Relations careers and the opportunities for European IROs in todays market. She gave an overview of the Investor Relations job market, how to build out a successful IR team and what that should look like, the skills gap and how to make your profile as a candidate stand out, and finally longer term career options – where after IR. Below is summary of what Debbie talked about.
Current Investor Relations Job Market
General optimism - teams are growing, with more specialist roles such as corporate access, ESG, but also teams are growing in line with the expansion of the role of IR. For more information on the current IR job market, see here.
How to build out your team – what does the ideal team look like
Need to identify the skills gap in the team and ensure a blend of financial literacy, communications, and good market knowledge – with high quality individuals who can do external market facing role. Sector knowledge can be a prerequisite in some cases too.
Do not overlook the importance of softer skills and cultural fit. There are huge cultural differences between the capital markets and investment banking world, and the corporate environment so it is critical to assess this rigorously before an appointment.
A graduate rotation programme is a good source of talent but the individual must be available for at least a year to really invest and for the team to get the most out of them.
How to make your profile stand out
Clearly demonstrate the responsibilities over and beyond the BAU IR role or the financial reporting. There will often be a hidden reason why a role is on the market – to do with the company strategy or future, therefore if you have demonstrated you have experience in this, it will carry a lot of weight.
Do not underestimate the importance of LinkedIn – make sure your profile mirrors your CV
If you have a hybrid role, or broad remit, don’t shy away from showcasing this.
Longer term career options - where after IR?
An attractive move is often to expand the role with IR/Strategy/Corporate Development – easier to then transition to a C-Suite position.
Alternatively, can move sectors or to an operational role, or divisional MD/CFO – depending on personal preference.
IR/Capital markets advisory roles are much more attractive and there are many more of them than previously. This appeals as it accommodates working across sector.
Other bits of general advice:
Networking – with all investor community stakeholders including bankers, brokers, PR firms
Know your market value – always stay close to market trends, surveys and headhunters
Keep an eye out for opportunities even if you are “passive” – it is a small market