Canadian Treasurer
 
 

April 30, 2013

Recruiting difficulties, retention concerns emerge as common themes in financial services hiring environment

TORONTO — Already faced with a changing regulatory landscape globally, the financial services sector may have yet another challenge: finding and keeping good employees. In a recent Robert Half study, nearly nine in ten executives surveyed in seven countries reported recruiting difficulties, and 83 per cent said they are concerned about losing top performers to other opportunities.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on responses from 1,100 financial services executives, including finance directors, chief financial officers and chief operations officers, across seven countries: Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"While some areas within financial services institutions have seen cutbacks, other more profitable product lines are receiving further investment which has resulted in additional hiring," said Neil Owen, global practice director of financial services recruitment for Robert Half. "This is creating challenges in finding the requisite staff to capitalize on emerging opportunities. Competition for the industry's top talent continues to intensify for middle-office and support roles, particularly accounting and finance, as well as operations positions."

Recruiting challenges

Eighty-nine per cent of executives surveyed said it is very or somewhat difficult to find skilled financial services professionals today. Talent shortages are especially acute in Hong Kong, where 95 per cent of respondents cited difficulties. Even in France, which had the lowest level of difficulty, 82 per cent of executives reported recruiting challenges.

When asked how challenging it is to find skilled financial services professionals

 

Very
challenging

Somewhat
challenging

Net
challenging

All countries

33%

56%

89%

Hong Kong

38%

57%

95%

Singapore

49%

45%

93%

Germany

36%

55%

91%

UK

29%

62%

91%

Canada

28%

62%

90%

US

30%

54%

84%

France

15%

67%

82%

Added Owen,"Institutions around the world need staff who can manage fundamental business needs, drive profitability and ensure compliance mandates are met. Building a team with these skills has become increasingly difficult as firms face situations in which the demand for skilled professionals often outweighs the supply".

Employers' retention worries

With the hiring environment improving for financial services professionals who can fill roles in areas such as accounting and finance, operations support, revenue generation and risk and compliance, employers around the globe are worried about losing their best and brightest to other opportunities. Eighty-three per cent of financial services executives are at least somewhat concerned about their ability to hang on to top performers this year, the survey found.

The greatest worries appear to be in Hong Kong and Singapore, where 93 per cent and 92 per cent of respondents, respectively, cited concerns about losing good employees. In the seven countries surveyed, at least 76 per cent of respondents expressed some level of concern.

When asked how concerned they are about losing top performers

 

Very
concerned

Somewhat
concerned

Net
concerned

All countries

31%

52%

83%

Hong Kong

40%

53%

93%

Singapore

50%

42%

92%

Germany

21%

66%

87%

Canada

22%

62%

84%

UK

24%

59%

83%

US

29%

48%

77%

France

21%

55%

76%

"A combination of factors, including heightened demand for skilled specialists in financial services, the growing need for regulatory expertise and operational changes taking place in the sector, may exacerbate current retention challenges," Owen said. "Employers will need to focus on competitive compensation, progressive perks and rewarding career paths to keep their best people."

 

 

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