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UK financial services sector trends: How are businesses navigating fast change?
Across the globe, businesses continue to adapt and evolve to the ever-changing market we now operate within as a result of the global pandemic. At Page Executive, we have continued to work closely with our partners to ensure that we can quickly offer support and guidance where needed.
In this article, we highlight four topics that have been key areas of concern for many of our customers and the approaches that some originations are choosing to take.
Working from home vs office-based teams
Working from home arrangements versus going back into the office has been a hot topic amongst the financial services businesses that we are partnered with. We have seen a contrast in approaches, though all have been vigilant in adhering to Government advice and adapting their policies where required.
In the UK, larger banks have not planned for any support staff to go back until 2021 at the earliest and employees have been discouraged from going into the office at all. Most are asking front-office staff to come back to the office working flexible days, with some days in the office and some from home. Some have also allowed regulatory and product front-office-aligned staff to return, although all voluntarily.
The smaller boutiques and challenger banks have largely reopened their offices and are welcoming staff back in. A number of them are stipulating that they prefer people to avoid commuting by tube/public transport if possible. Everyone is adhering to strict schedules to avoid everyone being back in at the same time.
Some organisations are splitting employees into bubbles by functions and then working in three-week rotations. Again, nobody is being forced into the office, however, a large number have been going in.
In light of recent Government announcements, the majority of those that had been going into the office are now either deciding to only work from home or reducing the number of times they go to the office in a week. Some of our clients were planning to increase the office time, however, all plans have been put on hold for the time being.
Talent hotspots across the UK
Hiring has largely resumed across the financial services sector, with both the larger organisations as well as boutiques and challenger banks, hiring for a number of business-critical roles. The majority of our current mandates are across financial control and regulatory reporting.
Many large banks have received a Section 166 and “Dear CEO” letters focusing on liquidity and capital. Furthermore, the increased focus on prudential reporting, especially Pillar 3 from a UK bank perspective, has narrowed this candidate pool even further. We are anticipating this trend to continue into 2021. A couple of large banks are hiring in this space, and candidates who resign are often being bought back with large salary increases.
None of the banks are giving golden handshakes or guarantees, however, letters of intent (LOIs) are being given and expected to secure senior candidates in this area.
In addition to the above, candidates from these backgrounds are increasingly moving into roles helping to shape policy development back to UK regulation away from the EU regulation in response to Brexit.
Staff retention during a crisis
Retention is always a big focus for organisations, including PageGroup. During the global crisis, this has become a slightly fraught topic as businesses are trying to cut costs, at the same time as managing the retention of their current and future talent.
As we adapt to a new normal, it seems clear that our customers sense an opportunity to lead the sector in a new, more positive, and impactful way. What was a huge logistical challenge in getting very large numbers of employees set up to work from home, was achieved relatively easily and the focus is now shifting to ensuring everyone remains engaged, motivated, and feels supported while operating remotely.
A number of our customers have voiced concerns about their more junior staff and we know that some have brought their graduates back into the offices where possible – again, on a voluntary basis. This is as much to ensure that they remain productive as well as ensuring that they build a sense of corporate identity and culture.
During a crisis, individuals will automatically revert to type. Unfortunately, this has highlighted what some of our partners are referring to as a leadership void; EQ is becoming increasingly important when managing large teams of varying levels all working remotely.
Some of our global customers have found that their people are now logging on earlier to make the most of the time that they would normally be commuting to the office. However, this is leaving the lines between work and home blurred and employees exhausted. The support system at work is now moving to advise employees about how to successfully balance work and home life.
If you would like to discuss any of these topics further, or for more in-depth insights into your market, please do not hesitate to get in touch for a confidential conversation.
Business Director, Page Executive – Banking and Financial Services