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Highs and lows

Arecent reunion of recruitment consultants that I worked with some years back has made me reflect back over my own career within this sector, which I have now worked in since the wonderful age of 25.

It was good to catch up with old friends and swap notes about what is happening in the world of financial services recruitment. Out of 10 of us, one is now an electrician and another has relocated to the US. The rest of us have ridden the wave and are all enthusiastic about how good things are in the workplace.

What attracted me to a career as a financial services recruiter? To be totally honest, it was the potential of high earnings initially and over the years my role has changed from sales to profess-ionally advising the candidates and clients that I have built relationships with. This very much reflects changes that have happened in the industry itself.

I began working for a well known agency at a time when the FPC exams were prerequisite and along came the pension review, which as a recruiter was probably one of the highlights of my career as the demand for staff was so high, particularly in the South-east.

The lowest point of my career has definitely been the 2008 recession which has taken a little while to bounce back from.

This year has been a little frustrating although extremely successful for Coast Specialist Recruitment which is growing as a business and filling more vacancies than this time last year.

Figures recently released by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation show that the overall level of job vacancies has increased at the strongest rate since April 2010.

The market for IFAs and paraplanners is top- heavy with jobs. The RDR has a lot to do with this and the demand is high for qualified individuals.

A diploma qualified paraplanner will have the opportunity to attend many interviews and should receive several job offers although many end up staying where they are due to getting an attractive counter-offer.

This can be a big time-wasting exercise and can easily be pre-empted. Prospective employers need to act with a sense of urgency and ensure that the salary and package on offer is in line with the market. I have seen salary levels for paraplanners increase over the last 12 month by up to 30 per cent. I am pleased that the role of paraplanner is finally receiving the great recognition that it deserves and was delighted that the Money Marketing awards now include one for the country’s top paraplanner.

A big change that I have seen in the way recruitment works in the last few years is the use of networking sites. Is there fear that the internet will make us recruitment professionals redundant? Fortunately not, as candidates still prefer to deal with a “middle-man” to assist with introductions and negotiations. Phew.

A delicate matter that I am seeing more of this year is personal debt management. Some successful and high-earning advisers, particularly those in the mortgage sector, are experience the knock-on effect of loss of earnings which may have affected their own credit ratings. Thankfully, I am seeing this as acceptable due to economic circumstances.

I will finish my piece with a positive quote from David Cameron: “There’s only one strategy for growth we can have now and that is rolling up our sleeves and doing everything possible to make it easier for businesses to grow, to invest, to take people on. Back small firms. Boost enterprise. Be on the side of everyone in the country who wants to create jobs and wealth and opportunity.”

Karen Halliday is executive consultant at Coast Specialist Recruitment

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