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Strong demand

This year has brought about many changes for recruiting within the financial services sector. Demand for well qualified and experienced IFAs is still strong despite the economic downturn. The option of being self-employed is still popular as it allows a high level of earnings and more autonomy.

It is good to see those advisers who have confidence in their own ability. Employed packages still offer the security that candidates are looking for and can be attractive alternatives to commission only. I would recommend that candidates be open minded to both options as overall remuneration can vary significantly in both employed and commission only roles.

The amount of qualified advisers in the country is reducing and this will most likely continue to be the case over the next three to four years. Research predicts that working IFAs will shrink by 10,000 by 2013. This is a result of firms going out of business, selling or merging due to the economic downturn and leaving the industry due to the RDR implementation.

Many IFAs close to retirement do not want to sit more exams and the increase in the paperwork has a detrimental effect on production. We are being approached by firms looking to acquire companies and are offering very attractive long-term packages.

Despite the downturn, my advice to employers is to make a decision quickly if you see a good person that matches your criteria. The chances are that you will be in competition and may even have to improve your offer to get the person to sign a contract with you.

There is still a shortage of female advisers, so any who are looking for employment should find that they are in demand. Employers are accommodating those retur-ning to work or who have to work part-time by offering flexible working hours and the opportunity of working from home.

There appears to be a high number of employees taking their former employer to a tribunal after being made redundant or dismissed. Changes in the law as of April 1 mean that employers need to ensure that they are up to date with current procedures and that these are followed correctly or they could face heavy repercussions.

We are finding that it is the smaller firms that are recruiting more, perhaps because overheads have been kept lower, meaning staff budgets have not changed. It appears that some firms taking up-front commission are being more cautious about expenditure, so recruitment has been frozen. Trail commission seems key to survival for other companies. The latter has meant fewer redundancies and continued recruitment plans.

I have faith that 2009 will be a good year and that the final two quarters will show great productivity for us all.

Karen Halliday is a director of Recruitment Connection

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