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Market opinion split over dearth of skills

Recruitment firms are at odds over whether the industry is suffering a skills shortage.

Pure Resourcing Solutions director Ian Walters says there is a skills shortage in the industry, blaming increased IFA wages and the subsequent lack of funds.

He says: “We are seeing a skills shortage in the industry because IFAs are being paid more money and therefore firms are hesitant to take on trainees because they can’t afford it. This means that trainees are not being placed in firms and it has resulted in a skills shortage. It is a vicious cycle.”

But recruitment consultant Walker Joice managing director David Coates believes Walters is “talking absolute rubbish”.

He says: It is a bit like saying that Real Madrid are not taking on enough trainees because they are paying David Beckham too much. If you don’t invest in the best, you are never going to win the Champion’s League. It is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market. IFAs are worth the money. Firms are continuously inv-ested in IFAs, and if IFAs can pick and choose a bit. What’s wrong with that?”

Falcon group chief executive Allan Rosengren says he does not see an issue.

He says: “I think there are plenty of skills available within the IFA community. We are not hesitant to take on trainees because of the amount of money they cost but rather because of the lack of transferable skills that they bring. The financials around that are probably of secondary importance.”

Rosengren says transferable skills are gained as much with experience as training.

He says: “It is not simply their professional qualifications but their knowledge in dealing with clients and understanding the issues at close hand.”

Norwest Consultants principal Harry Katz says he believes there “has always been talk of a shortage”.

He says: “If there was not a skills shortage, wages would go down. Clients are reluctant to have ‘youngsters’ offering them advice. They want someone who has experience and, ideally, some money.”

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