As Brexit looms risk and compliance financial services professionals are among the employees most ‘in-demand’ by UK
employers, the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) jobs report has revealed.
The national data ranks demand for staff across sectors and found that while the number of people available to take up new roles continued to decline sharply in January, the finance sector saw the steepest increase in permanent staff demand.
Compiled from questionnaire responses of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultants, the report also highlighted risk and compliance roles as being the most sought after as businesses prepare for the UK's likely exit of the European Union at the end of March.
According to the report, this increase in demand is namely because of historic skills shortages which have always hit the financial sector and are now getting worse as the UK's exit from the European Union beckons.
In terms of Brexit, the demand is best linked to the fact that firms are aware they may have to deal with fallout from a pending 'no-deal' and the knock on effect is a greater need to have finance, accounting and compliance staff available to handle this.
Sophie Wingfield, head of policy at REC, said: "There are skill shortages across the UK labour market right now, but accounting and finance is one of the sectors which has been facing the most challenges in finding the right candidates.
"Unfortunately, uncertainty around Brexit is also causing many professionals to consider whether or not this is the right time to move jobs. Recruitment professionals are playing a pivotal role in helping firms find the right talent, while working with clients on future workforce planning and Brexit contingencies."
Neil Carberry, REC's chief executive, said: "The survey results are a sharp reminder to politicians in Westminster and in Brussels of the need to provide businesses with clarity about the path ahead so they can invest with confidence."
Nick Bayley, managing director of compliance and regulatory consulting at global advisory firm, Duff & Phelps, said: "With the UK seemingly on a path to leaving the EU in just a few months, UK regulators are working frantically to address the regulatory gaps that could arise from a no-deal scenario.
"As the FCA takes on additional competencies for the UK financial sector that the EU institutions now handle, these additional policy and oversight responsibilities will inevitably increase the need for qualified individuals to fill the Brexit compliance gap.
"There has been significant and continued expansion of regulation in the sector since the financial crisis, both internationally and domestically.
"Although we may not see more policy-making of the scale of Mifid II or Dodd-Frank, in pushing ahead with the senior managers and certification regime and the Asset Management Study the UK regulators show they aren't really slowing down.
"It shouldn’t therefore be surprising to see that risk and compliance is the most sought area for employment, given the current and future needs of the industry."