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Market update

The following aims to provide an insight specifically into financial services marketing recruitment over the first half of 2012.

Big business restructures

A number of marketing departments in some of the bigger businesses in our sector have been under pressure to restructure over the past six months. We have seen the big banks, insurance firms and credit card businesses undergo quite large changes over the past few months. The knock-on effect of this has been that while there has been some natural movement in these organisations, a number of hiring managers have been left with gaps in their organisational charts due to internal promotions and leavers. Securing a role with some of the UK’s biggest brands was tough in 2011, but in the first half of 2012 we have seen a higher volume of roles within these businesses.

Confidence and media impact

The media continues to focus on job cuts in financial services; however the breadth of the sector that is affected tends to be exaggerated. Of course, there have been some deep cuts and redundancies in certain organisations and the knock-on effect of this is that both candidates and employers are coming to us concerned by market conditions. Often, candidates are tempted to ‘stick’ rather than ‘twist’ and this is having a negative impact on the quality of the available candidate pool. The wider message is actually nowhere near as bleak as you may believe. Many businesses are placing more of an emphasis on marketing than ever before and while there isn’t growth in every business, there are still roles out there.

Candidate quality

Generally speaking, it remains difficult to find high calibre marketing candidates. The involvement of senior people in the interview and/or sign off process, and the assumption from interviewers that they can afford to be fussy, makes the quality benchmark for interviewees very high. So, despite vacancy rates being steady, it remains a candidate-driven marketplace as some of the top candidates are choosing to stay put in their current roles.

Investment banking slowdown

By the end of Q4 in 2011 recruitment volumes in the investment banks had dipped to levels last seen at the end of 2008. As already discussed, this was not replicated across the rest of the financial sector, where the slowdown was not as pronounced. Whilst 2012 has not brought any significant change, since the latter part of summer there has been some increase in numbers of job vacancies being released in certain pockets of the sector.
We are seeing a higher volume of roles in smaller; sometimes even stand alone marketing teams where traditionally marketing has been seen as a support function. Going forward, a number of businesses now understand that in order to grow and keep up with innovative competitors, they have to invest more in marketing.

Digital dominance

As we will go on to detail later in this update, 2012 has seen a number of businesses embracing digital marketing. We are finding more roles either feature an element of digital marketing or are purely focused on digital marketing within financial services. In order to embrace the focus on digital marketing, we have set up our own digital brand to make sure we are capturing the best talent in digital marketing from all sectors.
Financial services businesses are often an attractive prospect to digital marketers as budgets are often large. People are also given the chance to really make a difference and be involved in the next big banking, insurance or credit card app, for example. We are seeing an increasing demand for digital candidates from the agency world as well; an area we make sure we’re talking to candidates from, as they are able to provide hands on support for a number of businesses choosing an in-house model.