The Financial Conduct Authority’s staff numbers were down around 3.5 per cent for 2021/22, totalling 3,766 at March 31, 2022.
According to the regulator’s annual reports and accounts published today (July 19), the number of full-time equivalent employees, including executive directors and fixed-term contractors, was down on the previous year.
In 2021, the FCA’s staff numbers stood at 3,903.
Total group operating costs for the FCA were £586.8mn, of which staff costs were 58 per cent (£339.7mn).
Of the total operating costs, the FCA said recruitment, training and wellbeing cost £10.1mn (1.7 per cent).
The FCA said expenditure was lower than planned due to a lower headcount, following a return to pre pandemic levels of attrition and recruitment challenges, generating lower staff costs.
The regulator said developing the capability of all colleagues across the organisation is a key focus and throughout 2021/22 the FCA Academy provided a range of solutions to support short and long term regulatory priorities, technical skills and broader soft skills development.
This included a provision of virtual and online training to support the remote and hybrid working environments and a range of regulatory refresher training.
The City watchdog delivered 2,960 virtual classroom training days over the year with 38 per cent of colleagues attending at least one of these formal training events.
A targeted approach for development was also taken throughout the year providing shorter more specific sessions for manager development and colleagues impacted by the regulatory reviews
As part of its wellbeing approach, the FCA said it is committed to developing a working environment that protects the physical and mental wellbeing of all.
In order to provide staff access to relevant support and information, the FCA said it offers a comprehensive wellbeing programme which comprises four core areas: mental health, musculoskeletal, cancer pathways and preventative care.
The strategy seeks to raise awareness, educate, inspire people and develop line manager knowledge, skills and confidence.
The FCA said its staff have access to a range of support services such as private medical insurance, employee assistance programme, a virtual GP service, physiotherapy and occupational health.
“Throughout 2021 we have continued to focus on post pandemic support, giving greater consideration towards colleagues’ physical and mental wellbeing especially while working from home,” it said.
“During 2021/22 the average days per year lost per person due to sickness absence increased to 6.7 days (2021: 4.4 days) comparable to 7.3 days in 2020, prior to the pandemic.”
The FCA said the impact of coronavirus and wider economic conditions resulted in a need to make some short term changes in its approach.
The executive directors and the FCA board decided in February 2021 not to increase employee salaries for 2021/22, with the exception of a 1.2 per cent salary increase for those paid below £24,000 per annum on a full-time equivalent basis.
Graduates and apprentices received stepped increases that are part of their respective schemes, in total 6 per cent of eligible employees received a salary increase.