Emerging from the year of the counteroffer, today’s Fund Administration and Investment Management market has maintained a fairly strong performance despite mass budget cuts. The quiet start to the year was expected given the fallout from rampant over-hiring, global economic uncertainty, and inflated salaries, but it’s safe to say that activity has since picked up.
Uncertainty is persistent, however, and it’s proven to be a major challenge in the talent acquisition space, rendering it difficult for businesses to identify candidates willing to move in the current climate. As the UK stares down the barrel of an impending recession, many qualified accountants are wary of the ‘first in, first out’ practice, choosing to stay put rather than step into the unknown.
That said, the swathes of counteroffers we saw last year are coming back to haunt a large number of decision-makers who have failed to solve underlying workplace issues – counteroffers are often a superficial fix to a fundamental stumbling block. A year on and many of those who took the offers are still unhappy after their extended tenure. When combined with the wavering salary inflation, a greater expanse of opportunity opens up for job seekers.
Firm culture and operational resilience have been thrust into the limelight, with the majority of organisations updating their policies to ensure that compliance training and L&D opportunities are provided to mirror the evolving needs of the employees.
Candidates can look towards the diversification of their responsibilities to unveil new opportunities. Businesses are more commonly shifting focus to alternative asset classes, partly a reflection of the growing complexity (and the prompt digital transformation) of today’s private markets. The soaring institutional investment rate in ESG-focused products is a prime example.
Employers will look to asset managers and fund administrators in their efforts to bolster their positions on sustainability – green bond investments and increased stakeholder engagement will likely play an instrumental role in this. As growing industry complexity is spurred on by the introduction of leading-edge technology, giving rise to an increased emphasis on the importance of the back office.
The UK’s new consumer duty act, hailed as a ‘paradigm shift’ for the financial services industry, has a wide scope, and it encompasses institutional investors, provided that a retail investor is involved. This could alter the nature of what makes a desirable asset management candidate, potentially resulting in the need for a greater focus on soft skills.
Meanwhile, 2023 is poised to be an exciting year for fund administration in Europe, with plans to drive investment through a record-breaking stimulus package.
We foresee rapid salary increases to slow down however, which may represent a move away from the: ‘the only companies hiring are the ones who can afford to pay the most’ rhetoric.
London, Luxembourg, and the Channel Islands have been quieter markets, particularly on the senior end of the spectrum, and we are seeing an uptake in larger companies offshoring to shared service centres, notably in India and Mauritius as supply chain redesign begins to take shape.
There is a shared sentiment among qualified accountants that suggests a growing desire to move away from roles based purely on financial reporting. Candidates must show a willingness to work on new asset classes to find these more dynamic roles, and opportunities are out there – finding them requires speaking to more companies and considering a wider range of areas, such as those in the growing M&A space.
Lateral moves are becoming more of a rarity, and companies will need to create a wider range of opportunities for those wishing to step up into senior roles to fill talent gaps. High-calibre candidates will not be on the market for long, and employers will need to get creative (and move quickly) with their value propositions to secure them.
Flexible working arrangements are still a top priority for candidates, with hybrid models being the preferred method over fully remote or fully in-person alternatives. A desirable flexible working model stretches beyond the number of days in or out of the office.
Flexible hours must be considered for a more candidate-centric approach. Later start and finish times, monthly rotas, international working opportunities, ‘team days –’ the parameters of remote working can (and should) be explored in more detail, and candidates are calling out for it.
Advice for Candidates:
Due diligence is critical – research the company outlook before you make the move.
Look to the future of the role – compare your entry point to the overall career trajectory. Is there ample room to grow?
Buy into the client-centric approach – financial services are making a mass move to a more empathetic, client-centric future, and your skill set will need to reflect it.
Leverage LinkedIn for insight – LinkedIn is a valuable resource for identifying individuals moving into the business, tracking progression and staying in the industry’s loop.
Speak to more people – delve into your network and build connections to uncover new career opportunities.
Whether you’re looking to hire or get hired, Broadgate’s Fund Administration and Investment Management team are here to connect you with an opportunity you can thrive in. Reach out to the team today to find out more about our diversity-focused approach to recruitment.