COVID: London’s Financial Services Recruitment Trends

Financial Services is an industry that has faced its fair share of crises. Burst bubbles, bear markets, booms and busts, schemes and scandals all feature in the rich history of an industry that always bounces back, reinventing itself when necessary.

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At the turn of the year we saw retail banking finally emerging from a mis-selling scandal, regulations increasingly tightening and FinTechs redefining many segments of the financial world. The COVID-19 breakout will send some industries to the wall but in Financial Services, it will act as a catalyst to change how parts of the sector work. FinTechs are up there with alcohol, flour, jigsaws, Zoom and Disney+ among the offerings that have seen demand increase strongly since lockdown became inevitable.

It is not only Financial Services, but the industries that serve it, where practices have had to change. Recruitment in the sector is on-going and remote interviewing has become a necessity. It’s harder to build rapport and inspire confidence on a screen but with everyone facing the same challenge, a well-prepared candidate can still stand out.

Across the range of mid to senior level roles we are working on, we have noticed three emerging policies among our clients.

  • The client had already started the recruitment process for a certain role before the lockdown. They ask us to proceed with the process up to a certain point where they feel that physical meetings are essential.
  • The client had already started the process before lockdown and is prepared to see the process through and on-board critical new starters.
  • The client is prepared to start new recruitment projects for key positions and will work with us to see them through to completion.

We respect all these approaches which each have a balance of professional diligence and considered pragmatism. The unknowns are the length of the lockdown, the distancing measures that remain in place beyond that, and people’s appetite for travel and meetings while the virus is still at large. It will be interesting to see how policy may move with the context which is more fluid than anything we’ve ever seen.

For candidates, it’s important to prepare as you would for any interview. In our next blog, we will present our tips for anybody taking part in online interviews.

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