March 03, 2013 at 03:00 AM EST
71% of Financial Services Firms More Confident for 2013 - But Talent Shortages Could Hinder the Recovery
LONDON, ENGLAND, March 03, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Financial services firms believe that 2013 will be a better year for their company than 2012, according to interviews carried out by Randstad Financial & Professional, the specialist recruiter.

Over 200 respondents, from heads of HR to European CFOs across the asset management, investment banking, asset services and insurance industries, were questioned on their hiring intentions and their outlook for 2013.

The main reasons given for the optimistic mood amongst financial services firms included "businesses are innovating and are introducing new revenue streams which adds to the confidence we are feeling", and "things will be busier due to increasing client demand'. 55% of respondents also pointed to increased headcount in 2012 as a positive indicator for the year ahead.

Hiring Intentions
58% of respondents questioned predicted an increase in staff numbers during 2013. As one respondent noted, "we need fresh blood to take us where we want to go. This hasn't been possible in the last five years." 14% expected headcount to rise significantly in 2013 and 44% slightly. And 36% said they plan to hire more permanent employees than contractors, with one respondent adding "In recent years market uncertainty forced us to rely on contractors. But as confidence returns to the market, these roles will turn into permanent positions."

Only a quarter of respondents (25%) saw staff numbers remaining stable and just 17% said they are preparing to cut staff.

Tara Ricks, managing director of Randstad Financial & Professional, comments: "The current prognosis is more encouraging than at any point since 2007. Companies are finally reaping the rewards of the internal efficiencies they were compelled to implement post credit-crunch. A rise in demand for their services in the latter part of 2012 indicates a good start to 2013. Their optimism is filtering through to hiring intentions where the ratio is swinging in favour of a longer-term commitment to permanent hires - another sure sign of confidence.

Challenges to Recruitment
While 41% of respondents remain frustrated with slow sign offs on headcount budget, 39% of also indicated their recovery could be harmed by a failure to find 'right' candidate - with both the skills and the cultural fit required. Anecdotal feedback included: "Training on the product is always provided, so the skill set is less important. It's the attitude and soft skills of people joining our team that we look for. You can't teach team fit."

4% of respondents pointed to unreasonable expectations of candidates, 8% lengthy interview processes internally, 4% strong competition for candidates and 5% the changing needs of their business as barriers to the growth they seek.

Tara Ricks adds: "Finding the elusive 'right' candidate is clearly the key to maintaining a healthy City heartbeat. But talented people have become ever more elusive as they continue their long hibernations in their current firms after bunkering down at the start of the credit crunch. Lack of budget and lower salary enticements to move to a competitor have played their part, as have fears over job security. However, should the optimism expressed in our findings come to fruition companies will be able to offer more competitive packages and professionals will become more receptive to them after this year's bonus season."

Randstad Financial & Professional is part of the Randstad group, one of the leading recruitment & HR services providers in the world with a top five position in the UK and a top three position in fifteen countries including the US, France and Germany.

In the UK, Randstad's business lines serve the public and private sectors. Randstad Financial & Professional is the recruitment consultancy for Accounting, Financial services and Legal and has been in operation since 1982.

Randstad's other business lines recruit across Business Support; Construction, Property and Engineering; Education; Health and Social Care; Interim Management and Search; Human Resources; IT; Retail; Sales, Student and Worker Support and In-House and Managed Services.

At the end of 2012, Randstad had 1,750 corporate employees in the UK, working in 203 locations. UK revenue in 2012 was EUR799 million. Randstad Holding nv was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands and listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam. For more information see www.randstad.co.uk and www.randstad.com.

Press contacts

The Wriglesworth Consultancy

James Staunton, Associate Director, j.staunton@wriglesworth.com 020 7427 1404
Adam Jones, Account Executive, a.jones@wriglesworth.com 020 7427 1403

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