Risk & compliance jobs surge

UK banking vacancies continue record growth

Data from globally active recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley and data publishers Vacancysoft shows that banking vacancies in the UK overtook pre-pandemic hiring rates and reached record levels over the summer. In addition the companies predict vacancies will grow further as the industry displays continual health despite Britain leaving the EU.

The research shows the number of new banking jobs breached the 5,000-mark for the first time in June (5,148) and then continued into July (5,324) and August (5,763). Hiring levels by the end of 2021 are predicted to finish up by 44 per cent compared to 2019 across the UK. In London, where the majority of jobs are located, firms published 2,804 professional banking vacancies in August and are on course to finish 2021 up by 30 per cent in relation to 2019.

The figures show that most of the new UK banking jobs published are for risk and compliance specialists. Professional hiring for these experts makes up 12.8 per cent of all banking vacancies — up 1.3 percentage points since 2019. In London, the proportion is slightly higher at 13.7 per cent, an increase of 1.5 points. Risk and compliance departments are also recruiting at a faster rate than others, growing 61 per cent across the UK and 46 per cent in London.

Broken down by specific risk and compliance roles, AML/KYC/Financial Crime specialists are the most sought-after across the UK, with vacancies for this function projected to finish 82 per cent higher than 2019.

In London, jobs for compliance experts are the largest area with hiring levels on course to grow 28 per cent by the end of 2021 in relation to pre-pandemic levels. The only area where vacancies are forecast to finish lower than two years ago is operational risk (-16 per cent in the UK; -27 per cent in London.)

“As institutions adjusted to video interviews and remote onboarding, recruitment plans changed in May 2020,” said Leo Bellometti, senior consultant compliance and risk and Ben Harris, senior manager, head of governance from Morgan McKinley commented. “This continued throughout 2021 with risk and compliance vacancies in banking and financial services projected to rise by 61 per cent by the end of 2021 versus 2019 and 2020 levels.

“Busy areas in compliance and risk include: compliance advisory, financial crime / AML, surveillance and monitoring and credit risk. This has been caused by the easing of government lockdown measures, and in turn with banks initially having made cuts to their staff, they now need people to join their teams again. The recruitment market has turned to become a candidate-led market with candidates having multiple different options on the go which requires institutions to move quickly when hiring.”

The leading recruiter for risk and compliance specialists in the UK is Citi with 633 vacancies published so far in 2021, constituting a 92 per cent increase on 2020, and a massive 489 per cent rise on 2019. More specifically, risk control jobs at Citi rose from nine vacancies in 2019 to nearly 250 in 2021.

JPMorgan published the second-most number of R&C jobs, with recruitment levels up 192 per cent on 2020 and 215 per cent on 2019. In contrast, hiring for these specialists at HSBS is 53 per cent down in relation to 2019.

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