Compliance pay jumps as firms compete for talent

Tim Wallace
Follow Tim
FINANCIAL services vacancies dropped again in February, according to recruitment figures published today, as City firms face a wave of regulation and sustained economic uncertainty.

But wages are going up, particularly for compliance staff, as finance firms struggle to find the right talent to cope with incoming red tape.

Vacancies dropped 15 per cent on the year to February, with 2,583 advertised last month compared with 3,065 a year earlier, according to the numbers from recruiter Morgan McKinley.

And the number of finance workers looking for a new job dipped 13 per cent, coming in at 5,226, down from 6,084 in February 2012.

But although the overall picture is one of little hiring activity, some sectors are seeing increased demand.

Figures from recruiter BrightPool show 67 per cent of retail banks plan to take on more regulatory compliance staff to cope with the break up of the Financial Services Authority into two new regulators.

“Banks expect the focus to be deeper on both prudential and conduct issues because the new regulators have specific remits. ” said BrightPool boss Angela Hickmore. “This all adds up to more need for compliance staff to cope.”

Meanwhile the IT sector is also likely to start spending more, with ReThink Recruitment’s data showing almost half of IT departments expect increased budgets this year, ending a period of cuts in the sector.

Those specialised jobs are behind pay rises as firms compete for the top staff.

Morgan McKinley’s figures show staff receive an average pay rise of 10 per cent when taking a new job, while a report from recruiter Robert Walters shows compliance staff in banks and asset managers getting an average pay rise of 6.4 per cent this year, well above average in the sector.

“This is primarily being driven by continuing regulatory pressure and large-scale fines imposed on the larger banks,” said Robert Walters' Peter Milne.

“As a result, we are seeing the creation of new compliance teams as banks seek to bring in professionals with subject matter expertise in specific problem areas.”