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Consultant’s View: Business as usual after the RDR

January saw a slight lull in recruitment as firms held their breath now that the RDR is finally here. Thankfully this did not last long as, perhaps surprisingly, employing within the sector appears to have reached a full time high. Even December was strangely busy, although this did include a few last minute panics.

I had spoken to several advisers that had failed their last exam. I tried to offer as much hope as I could for these people as they faced the sad reality of possible unemployment or at least a change of role, albeit for a short time.

Some candidates that I have dealt with for many years have moved into the lucrative business of the buying and selling of IFA firms. I am told that there is a shortage of firms for sale.

I have noticed the 80/20 rule with the majority of expansion in terms of staff taking place with the larger firms. Recruitment is slick, professional and text book style, quite often involving the assistance of web portals to ensure extra efficiency.

Firms are quick to make decisions to avoid losing the best candidates to competitors even if three interviews and testing is part of the process.

Candidates are kept well informed of their process step by step. I am enjoying this honest approach. All involved know exactly where they stand. Duplicate CVs are not a big issue, companies usually accept the CV that is sent first as the introducing agency.

However, companies do have the right to choose whichever agency they want to work with. It is vital that candidates are spoken to about the role prior to the CV being sent.

We recruiters are no longer seen as “CV brokers”. I am enjoying being a consultant, where clients and candidates listen to our sound advice.

Twice in the last week I have seen situations where the company has given a job offer at a salary lower than expected.

Prior to the RDR preparations, I felt that the applicant should be flexible and not just be driven by money, however, the candidate now holds all of the aces; they know that they can find a job with the remuneration package that they are looking for.

Employers should consider this more and be prepared to negotiate otherwise their vacancy for a paraplanner could still be open three to six months down the line.

I am finding the social network sites a double edge sword. Great for networking and helpful in filling a role or finding a vacancy, however, confidentiality is a big problem as your employer can see exactly who you are liaising with.

In-house recruitment is popular again with the providers, but this is not a great cost cutting exercise. The job websites cost a small fortune for candidate searches and advertising. It has been proven time and time again that professional financial services candidates prefer to choose a specialist agency to act as middleman.

The jobs that we are working on whether it is an adviser role or paraplanner vacancy require diploma as a minimum qualification. Chartered qualification is preferred but not essential in most cases.

The salary on offer, as expected, is higher for more qualifications gained. I wonder if this will change during 2013? I expect soon to hear that candidates will not be considered for roles unless chartered status has been achieved.

Karen Halliday is senior executive consultant at Coast Specialist Recruitment

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