Global market snapshot: financial services

A business is only as good as the people it employs – a sentiment that proves to be a key motivator for our recruitment consultants.  Our financial services insight report explores how this search for the best talent is conducted in the FS market.  To download your free copy of the full report please complete your details below. Attracting the best talent to your business is a costly business. The FS industry relies on skilled, well-educated workers. And in this digital era, they need to be able to turn on a dime to meet the new technological advances and challenges. But in attracting the right people, are FS firms looking in the right place? UK: Whilst there has been continued caution in the UK hiring market around the potential impact of Brexit, the UK financial services market has remained active throughout 2017-2018. There have been several clear trends; with a major focus among businesses to hire both Marketing & Comms professionals with a track record of demonstrating ROI and ensuring Marketing & Communications functions are being held accountable. We have seen a steady pattern of hiring among the large mainstream banks and more established financial service institutions, with an increase in the hiring in the digital space in particular. There has been a significant appetite to hire digital natives from outside of the banking & FS sector and from online focused businesses including the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple rather than competitors or traditional bricks & mortar businesses. Within the asset management sector, we are seeing a continued focus on content & thought leadership, particularly across social channels. There is also a renewed focus on upskilling digital capabilities. These businesses have historically hired marketing and digital professionals from within the sector, though there is a shift towards hiring digital professionals from outside of the sector. A number of UK asset management businesses are growing their global footprint with central teams remaining in the UK but with hiring increasing in local/regional hubs across continental Europe & Asia predominantly. The Fintech scene continues to grow at a pace with many businesses enjoying rapid expansion. Several London-based Fintech businesses have reached a $1 billion dollar market value and the rate of growth, innovation & disruption continues to accelerate, with marketing teams expanding in line with this growth. These businesses have recruited a number of disciplines, though most actively across digital & product roles, with businesses often hiring candidates from tech or e-commerce-led backgrounds. Within the communications field, we are continuing to see an increase in the importance of internal communications as a discipline. The emphasis however is on employee engagement rather than on employee communications alone. There has also been increased focus on hiring individuals with a track record of using metrics & insight to measure the effectiveness of the activity. In the external communications space, we have seen a number of large FS businesses focus on hiring both individuals and teams to focus specifically on developing proactive, external media campaigns. Predictions for the next 12 months:

  • Consolidation of the Fintech market (including challenger banks), anticipating increased acquisition by more established traditional FS institutions, looking to eliminate competition or get a foothold into the Fintech markets;
  • A greater mobility of candidates cross-sector as financial services businesses start to increase innovation and look to fresh ideas from outside of the sector.

Key skillsets that will be hired in 2019:

  • Digital will continue to be a key area of hiring, with increased focus on specialist skillsets in social media, content, programmatic and marketing technology/marketing automation;
  • Continued focus on hiring in employee engagement roles.

The Middle East: The MENA Financial Services sector is more buoyant than at any stage since late 2015 which has been reflected in the YTD earnings reported by many banks in the region. In the UAE, further consolidation in the banking sector seems inevitable. Insurance continues to be a highly competitive market and we expect to see some companies exit the market especially within personal lines. On a more positive note, the generally strengthening economies of the GCC will drive growth across the sector. Likely this will be especially true in Saudi Arabia while other high growth markets are expected to include Egypt and Morocco. Across the region we expect digitalisation to play a key role in reshaping institutions – driving hiring in specific departments and being used as a key tool for acquiring new customers, both retail and commercial. Overall, we expect hiring numbers to increase in the sector in 2018 especially at mid to senior level. Predictions for the next 12 months:

  • At least one major merger creating a bank with more than $100 billion in assets;
  • Branch numbers in the GCC to reduce and new digital-only banks to be launched;
  • MENA regulators to become increasingly open to eKYC technology and legislate to allow its use.

Key skillsets that will be hired in 2019:

  • Performance Marketing;
  • Digital Product Management;
  • Corporate Communications.

Asia: The financial services sectors across Asia have been positive in their hiring patterns throughout 2018 and we expect this to continue into 2019. There has been a steady increase in market confidence and although there has been some consolidation we have seen a large volume of new hires coming into marketing and communications structures within our client groups. Within asset management, we have seen a continued focus on hiring and certainly, this has been the most active sector within financial services for the last two years. The corporate, institutional and investment banking sectors have started to hire again, and we are seeing more movement in this market after a very quiet two years. Insurance and retail banking continue to have high churn, while the exchanges, indexes and Fintech markets are showing less positive hiring patterns for marketing and communications staff. Predictions for the next 12 months:

  • Continued growth in asset management hiring, especially for marketers with wholesale channel experience;
  • Investment banks to see more movement of senior marketing and communications candidates and therefore more senior hiring than has been seen for the last four years;
  • Digital candidates will continue to be in high demand but salary increases will not be as high as other years. There is more talent available across Asia as clients look to other countries.

Key skillsets that will be hired in 2019:

  • Digital marketing – content, performance and measurement;
  • Senior Regional Corporate Communications professionals;
  • Business unit / Product marketers – strong product knowledge, work with sales closely.

Australia: It has been a tough year for the financial services industry in Australia with the Royal Commission very publicly uncovering malpractice across the Big Four retail banks and other major financial services players. Together with GDPR, this has resulted in a number of C-level resignations and restructures across these businesses. The positive news for Fintech firms, challenger banks and SMEs is that both the current and opposition governments are keen to boost competition within the sector, supporting the establishment and take off for organisations in these categories. The effect this has had on marketing recruitment has been significant, with the smaller Fintech firms hiring aggressively. There is a particular demand for senior digital operational candidates; hybrid candidates with knowledge of both IT and digital marketing; and data specialists. Predictions for the next 12 months:

  • Continued growth in the challenger bank and Fintech space, particularly for marketers with extensive programmatic and performance marketing experience;
  • Across all organisations in the financial services space there will be an increased movement and demand at the manager and junior manager level, with less at the “pointy” head of and marketing director end;
  • Due to the changes on the Temporary Skills Shortage and Skills Shortage Visa criteria there will be a decrease in overseas candidates moving into the Australian market.

Key skillsets that will be hired in 2019:

  • Digital Marketing – specifically performance, programmatic and extensive SEO skills;
  • Commercial product experience alongside traditional marketing skills; management of a P&L and experience working directly with a sales team will be highly sought after.

This report covers other topics including the rise of the Chief Customer Officer; the role of a CMO vs. CDO; AI and Automation; Permission-based Marketing; Social Media; Changing Regulation; Personalisation and Data; Internal Communications; Employer Branding; the nature of the exchange between a Financial Services business and its customer, and much more.

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