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2014 employee retention trends

In 2014 we have started to see the re-emergence of counter offers being made to financial services professionals. This is by no means widespread but the reappearance of this trend is indicative of a renewed confidence in the market.
Employers are on occasion finding themselves in bidding wars for top talent which can lead to employees turning down external offers and remaining with their current organisation. We often find that these candidates will be back on the market within a year as their salary has changed, but promotional prospects, bonus potential and pay rises tend to cease being top of the agenda as the loyalty of the employee is now under question. 
Michael Page Banking & Financial Services discusses recent employee retention trends and the re-emergence of counter and multiple offers in fund administration, banking and insurance industries.

Fund administration

There are roughly 14,000 professionals working in fund administration in Ireland. Fund administration is ever evolving with mergers, acquisitions and the emergence of start up businesses. This means there is regular change and restructure; most businesses are still focused on cost reduction and being seen to produce value for money within the workforce in Ireland. Moving some of the more administration heavy duties to lower cost centres such as Eastern Europe and India also still features heavily. With the emergence of ever more stringent regulation of the industry through the 4th AML Directive and AIFMD, the emphasis is now on compliance. Candidates with hands-on compliance experience have been in consistent demand so far this year which is unlikely to change in the near future. 
There is a noticeable shortage of candidates who have one to two years’ experience actively seeking to make a move, leaving employers with open vacancies longer than in previous years. To incentivise these candidates, salaries have started to creep up again. To ensure they do not lose the hard won recruitment requisitions employers are starting to be a little more flexible in terms of the background of candidates they are considering. The overriding message is that if the candidate can display motivation, ambition and flexibility at interview, they are more likely to secure a move in a new direction.
In the past, in order to retain top talent, businesses promoted staff relatively quickly, offering ample career progression. However, due to the ever expanding nature of the industry, training may have fallen to the way side, leaving some managers lacking in management skills. As the industry has picked up and confidence returned candidates are actively looking to work for managers who will engage them and offer support.
Advice for candidates
Try and gain experience in as many areas as you can, aim to add value in your current role and actively seek out new tasks to get involved in. In order to secure a promotion, ensure you are seen as someone who is engaged in your role and adding value in any way possible. Do not underestimate the importance of internal networking. Feedback I receive from clients is that they wished employees would talk to them about job satisfaction – often they are caught unaware when notices are handed in. Before you go to market, make sure you have tried to resolve any causes for discontentment such as promotion, salary etc.
With the continuing demand in compliance and the indication that this will continue, it is worth while to keep yourself abreast of any developments.

Banking and insurance

Ireland’s economy is growing again. There has been more positivity this year than we’ve seen in recent years so there are more opportunities in the market and higher levels of confidence for job seekers. 
In particular, we are currently experiencing strong  demand for niche roles in compliance, risk and model building. Employers should move quickly to secure top candidates in these areas as they are highly desirable to competitors and in short supply.  
There has also been a noticeable increase in emigrants returning to Ireland from the UK and Australia. This indicates better market conditions, but while sentiment is more positive it’s difficult to see the road ahead in financial services in the medium to longer term. We might see the need for more technical and IT focused skill sets as the role of technology continues to advance in banking. 
Advice for candidates
While conditions in the market are showing concrete signs of improvement, it remains an employers’ market. So if you are looking to move, try and evaluate your current worth. Are there any extra qualifications you could complete? Alternatively, volunteer yourself for special projects or work with other teams to broaden your experience. Talk to your peers and share knowledge – they may be able to offer invaluable advice. 
If you’re considering looking for a new position, think carefully about what your company could offer you in the long-term – in terms of progression, experience and earning potential – before making the decision to move. There is a strong chance you will receive a counter offer so if you’ve made the decision to leave, try to stick with it. Once an employee accepts a counter offer, the trust that previously existed between them and their employer evaporates and the pay rise offered is often mitigated against future pay rises. Over 80% of candidates who accept a counter offer leave their employers within 12 months anyway as the reasons prompting them to consider leaving in the first place remain.
Finally, if you have overseas experience be sure to emphasise this on your CV. Employers are interested in seeing profiles from abroad because these candidates can bring a fresh insight and international expertise that may not be readily available locally. 
To discuss your banking and financial services job search or recruitment process, get in touch with John Stewart.
T: +353 1 653 9800