5th Nov 2009
Careers Centre > Quarterly Job Market Review

TopFinancialJobs Quarterly Survey Q3 2009

The results of our latest survey into the state of the financial jobs market demonstrate that financial recruiters are feeling cautiously optimistic as we move towards the end of 2009.

Simon Cresswell, Managing Consultant in the Property Division at Witan Jardine reported that "...during quarter 3 we started to see an interesting change in the sentiment towards recruitment within the property market. Clients are for the first time in the last 18 months starting to think about recovery and when the buying market returns can they keep up with the demand? This being said we have not seen a huge increase in job flow but estimate that the level of roles that we take on should increase throughout the final quarter." This sentiment gave Simon cause to be positive about the final quarter of 2009: "I believe that we will start to see an increase across temporary and permanent roles throughout the 4th quarter....a lot of companies believe that the greater economy is starting to stabilise and are now thinking about future growth and not just existence."

When asked about sectors that were showing signs of improvement, Simon stated that ", legal and professional services firms are all showing signs of improvement and are now starting to assess their current infrastructure and look at areas that probably need bolstering in preparation for 2010." At the same time, Simon warned that the retail sector will remain cautious about performance over the next few months, pointing to relatively low levels of consumer spending and fears about Christmas sales figures.

Simon also expressed some confidence that the economy may be moving towards recovery: "I think that we are through the worst but I am still concerned about the impact that of quantitative easing, the debt deficit against our GDP output and the possible rise in interest rates." Within his sector, Simon reported a "growing view that there will be quite a lot of activity over the next year which will mean that select companies will start to look to increase headcount in certain areas."

Neil Phillips, Associate Director of Witan Jardine's Banking and Financial Services division, summarised 2009's penultimate quarter as "...steadily getting better." Both employers and candidates have been showing a little more confidence. Whilst there are more vacancies and the recruitment process is shortening once again, the market is a long way from returning to levels of eighteen months again. However, "...companies of all sizes seem to be interested or engaged in recruiting again." Phillips pointed towards a steady final quarter, with most of the recruitment occurring before December.

According to Phillips, hedge funds, private equity and big banks were the sectors that have suffered the most, but they are now improving and it is "definitely better" in financial services than it was at the beginning of 2009. Despite agreeing that we are through the worst of the recession, "...we are still a long way from recovery." However, Phillips' clients have indicated that "...they are much more confident that they will be growing as opposed to downsizing or just replacing. Clients are budgeting now and they are certain that hiring will increase."

Witan Jardine is a leading recruiter which focuses on Accountancy, Banking and Financial Services and Sales & Marketing. Witan Jardine is part of the Ambition Group and has offices in London, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Paul Robinson, Sales Director at Martin Ward Anderson, revealed that "...the combination of job shortages and a lack of quality candidates actually willing to move has made the recruitment market in the accountancy & finance sector extremely challenging from Martin Ward Anderson's perspective. The summer holiday period exacerbated things further. The third quarter can be inherently slow but this year this was more pronounced." Fortunately, September saw a slow return to increasing job vacancies and candidates prepared to move to new roles. "There is definitely a more confident feel to the market from both a client and candidate point of view."

Looking forward to 2009's final quarter, Robinson reported that "...the final quarter is likely to be more positive than Q3. We expect there to be a gradual increase in the number of positions being recruited for through to the New Year as firms proceed with caution." Furthermore, "...within some areas of the Financial Services market, there is now greater job flow than past quarters and although it's too early to tell if this is a sustainable trend, other sectors normally follow suit. October and November statistics will be a better indicator of 2010 trends."

Robinson was also more confident about the market than he was at the beginning of the year: "...indications are that the market is bottoming out - albeit at historically low levels - and therefore the 'talk on the street' is definitely of a more positive nature. There are definitely more jobs coming on to market in the past six weeks, which is a positive sign."  Although his clients remained cautious, "...where there is a critical business requirement or projects, hiring decisions are being made and processes are definitely moving forward quickly."

Martin Ward Anderson is a leading specialist financial recruitment consultancy for accountancy and finance professionals and was voted "Best Accountancy Recruitment Firm" at the 2009 Recruiter Awards. 

Belinda Walmsley, Associate Director at Joslin Rowe noted that "...we have begun to see recruitment volumes pick up with salary increases across some areas particularly for niche positions, combined with a shortening of the recruitment process as more vacancies are readily approved and budgets signed off." Joslin Rowe are feeling positive about the financial recruitment market in final quarter and on into 2010 - "...job volumes have increased and candidates are once again starting to move roles."

Whilst front office roles have remained those most affected by the recession, recruitment activity for Joslin Rowe has begun to pick up in most sectors, with some areas even experiencing salary increases. Walmsley was also more confident about the market than at the beginning of 2009: "...we're receiving a higher volume of jobs through from our clients and we're also receiving more applications from candidates who are currently working within the industry as they feel that it is now safer to begin looking for a new position."

Joslin Rowe is an award winning recruitment consultancy for positions within the financial services sector across London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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