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The changing face of recruitment

Karen Halliday
Karen Halliday

Having recently got back from maternity leave, 2009 was, in my opinion, a good year to take a break. I truly feel that I did not miss a lot in the world of financial services recruitment. There were fewer redundancies than expected but firms still took a cautious view with recruitment plans.

But 2010 tells a completely different story. The market is more buoyant as the industry prepares for the RDR.

Last year, recruitment professionals registered more people than vacancies but things have totally evened out. Many individuals were forced to find employment in different sectors, particularly those working in the mortgage field. Some specialist recruit-ment firms have downsized or even closed as a result of the economic crisis.

As of several years ago, it is difficult to source paraplanners and advisers that are looking to move companies, especially now that diploma or chartered status is quite often a prerequisite. It is increasingly hard for us to place a para-planner that does not possess a diploma.

We are, of course, seeing more mergers and acquisitions among firms of all sizes. Equally, we are seeing new companies that launched themselves in the middle of the recession.

Turn back the clock to 1995 when once again there were many changes in the industry. The providers were still holding regular seminars to recruit high numbers of advisers and then came the pension review which kept recruitment consultants extremely busy. Since then, I have not seen many significant changes until the credit crunch in August 2007 and, of course, more recently leading up to 2012.

The way we work has changed significantly in the last 15 years. The internet has completely taken over how people look for a job. Adver-tising is predominantly web-driven and after the initial meeting with a candidate, most of the contact is made via email and voice messages. Many clients also prefer email contact.

I still get frustrated by lack of new people entering the industry. We recently registered a graduate trainee vacancy with a small IFA practice. The client asked for a financial services graduate.

We were surprised at the relatively low response to our ad. We were able to find a suitable individual, who advised us that not many people were on the course.

The client then had a change of heart as felt that the degree was not relevant and that the candidate’s knowledge was not strong enough. Surely something should be done about this? Financial services graduates should be able to easily find employment within the sector, particularly as there is always a skill shortage.

My message to hiring managers would be first to continue to look after your staff. Take note of extra qualifications, hours worked and additional responsibility and reward people accordingly.

There are normally at least two reasons why applicants are looking for a new role, therefore it’s not just about money. Counter-offers may mean that you get to keep your staff member for another six months. But usually the original problems will resurface and the person will still part company with you.

When recruiting, prevent counter-offers by reviewing your wish list. Perhaps take on part-qualified individuals or even trainees to get somebody up to the level you require. That way, you will have a team of extremely loyal and committed individuals working for you.

Karen Halliday is executive consultant at Coast Specialist Recruitment

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