Scotland’s financial sector faces huge hurdles including lack of applicants – Core-Asset Consulting

Edinburgh-based recruiter Core-Asset Consulting has released its latest guide to industry and salary trends, describing the report, now in its seventh year, as a ‘legal’ review of salary levels and a gauge of market sentiment, activity and themes affecting financial services across Scotland.

The finance-focused firm says the guide, compiled using all-Scottish data, is ‘stall-ready’ for pay reviews in the sector, which usually take place in March and April.

The study found that despite “some of the most extreme market conditions in living memory”, financial, asset management and professional services remained resilient overall, with roles such as business analysts , the most in-demand solution architects and regulatory risk. .

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Core-Asset boss Betsy Williamson points to a currently massively buoyant market for candidates, which is putting increased pressure on employers. Photo: David Ho.

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But the recruiter added that vacancies were up 52% ​​and applicants down 5% from the previous 12 months, due to the ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit, increased remote working, the abolition of intern and trainee programs and the reluctance of many to relocate for a role.

The report highlights that the number of candidates actively applying for positions has decreased by 35% and that recruiters must raise the bar to find 57% more candidates than in 2020.

Betsy Williamson, founder and chief executive of Core-Asset, says the latest report makes for “alarming” reading for her audience.

“With such a turbulent predecessor as 2020, it was clear that 2021 was going to be another year of unpredictable change within financial services, and the industry now finds itself at an uncertain crossroads with huge hurdles to overcome,” he said. she declared.

“Unlike at the start of the coronavirus pandemic when many employees were fighting for their jobs, we are now witnessing a massively buoyant market for candidates, leading to increased pressure on employers to offer better wages, more flexibility and competitive advantages to attract and retain the best talent.

“The reduction in the available workforce is linked to the UK’s exit from the European Union… with over 200,000 EU citizens leaving the UK in 2020.

Unprecedented

“Additionally, thousands of workers furloughed at the height of the pandemic have since changed careers, leaving huge employment gaps in some industries, while growing demand in sectors like fintech and environmental and social governance (ESG) has driven up wages. unprecedented levels.

The guide highlights how the number of job vacancies for ESG analysts in Scotland has increased by 70% over the past two years.

Ms Williamson added: “ESG is no longer a tick box exercise where investment firms can take the path of least resistance, it is expected to now be an integral part of the investment process. investment, and this is reflected in the massive increase in employment. opportunities in this area.

“Yet there is a shortage of candidates to meet the demand for ESG-related positions. We need academic institutions in Scotland to follow the trends and encourage undergraduates to consider the benefits of a career in this field. Those working in and around the sector should also be encouraged to improve skills.”

Core-Asset was established in 2005 and is now a £14 million business with 22 employees, operating across the financial sector.

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