2019 Market Update: Banking and FS – Accounting & Finance

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In 2018 we saw a steady increase in job volumes in financial services on both the sell-side and buy-side, leading to a candidate-driven market.

Fintech firms continued to thrive and offered an enticing alternative to traditional financial services firms which resulted in many financial services employers struggling to attract and retain top talent.


2018 also marked the first full year of new laws prohibiting recruiters and companies from asking candidates about their salary history and current compensation information.

As recruiters, we were somewhat concerned about the impact this would have on the recruitment market, particularly in banking and financial services where salaries are traditionally high and fluctuate from company to company.

In reality, after a small adjustment period, we haven’t found it to be an issue at all, and in many ways, it has proven to be very helpful as we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of candidates who feel they were undervalued due to their prior compensation history. 

Talent: attraction & retention

Organizations will have to find new and more creative ways to attract talent in 2019; whether offering flexible working conditions, competitive salary and bonus packages or improving the speed and efficiency of their recruitment processes.

Several banks, largely European and U.S. businesses, are continuing to utilize nearshore locations across the U.S. for their accounting and finance functions. As this trend continues, it may alleviate some of the demand for quality candidates in financial hubs such as New York as employees unable to consider the move to these new locations, make themselves available on the market.

Fintech firms will continue to attract top talent out of financial services companies as they are increasingly seen as an exciting alternative to the more traditional firms. 

Counter offers

In 2019 we expect companies to become more willing to extend counter offers to their top talent to try and retain them when they are offered another job. This is because businesses are seeing the true cost of losing top talent compared to the cost of retaining good people.

The positive news is that we’re seeing candidates become more resistant to accepting a counter offer, even if the counter offer includes a significant salary increase.

Talented people are opting for the new opportunities that a career move will bring over remaining with a firm that they have already decided to leave, especially when it takes the threat of them leaving for the firm to offer a salary increase.

2019 trends

Overall in 2019 we are expecting an increase in recruitment volumes. Banks are looking to flex their muscles in order to stem the tide of losing good talent to the buy-side and fintech firms.

We expect fintech recruitment to continue to escalate as the industry itself seems to be in continuous growth mode. Buy-side firms continue to be attractive to candidates as they offer an eclectic range of alternative opportunities.

For further insights, download a copy of the 2019 Market Update: Banking and Financial Services - Accounting & Finance.

Or, for more information on how Robert Walters can assist with your hiring needs, please get in touch with a consultant.

E:  newyork@robertwalters.com  |  T: 212 704 9900

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