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Financial Sector Goes Into Hiring Frenzy But Skill Shortages Threaten Future Growth

St Paul's Cathedral and Millennium Bridge

Good times seem to be back in the UK financial services industry. What better proof of that than the hiring fever which has gripped the sector? But while the latest figures from APSCo reveal a surge in both permanent and contract vacancies, the report also highlights the danger posed by skill shortages. Unless prompt action is taken, the looming skills crisis will severely inhibit the sector’s ability to capitalise on the economic recovery and pave the way for sustained future growth, APSCo points out.

number of contract vacancies in the financial sector has leaped by 53%

Contractors have become essential for dealing with skill shortages: over the past year, the number of contract vacancies in the financial sector has leaped by 53%. On a monthly basis, the increase amounted to 4% last month.

Another positive development is the revival in recruitment for non-business critical positions, which APSCo sees as indicative of strengthening confidence among employers. In past few years, financial employment growth has been driven primarily by hiring for business critical roles. This has been attributed to the need for compliance with tough regulatory requirements.

However, future sector growth is at risk due to the limited availability of qualified candidates, APSCo warns. Research from PWC/CBI has highlighted the same concern: 86% of financial service providers are worried that skill shortages would inhibit their growth. Some companies are betting on generous pay increases to attract and retain valuable staff but this is not a practice that can deliver results beyond the short term, according to APSCo CEO Ann Swain. Since the talent pool is shrinking, salaries will at some point cease to be enough of an enticement, Swain notes.

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