Recruitment Trends: Q4 2018

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This is part of a series of regular quarterly updates on recruitment activity across Scotland's financial, accounting and legal sectors. 

Covering permanent, interim, temporary and contract recruitment, its single-page format gives employers a quick, easily digestible snapshot of asset management, asset servicing, accounting & finance, legal and wider financial services.

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Financial Services

Asset Management

Growth in demand continues throughout this quarter. Demand is particularly high for investment analysts, compliance specialists, front office client teams and IT and technology. Increase in counter-offers is evident.  

Investment Operations

Still a very candidate-led market with demand across most disciplines. We are continuing to see counter-offers at all levels.

Some firms are moving quicker than others through the recruitment process. As a result, certain companies are losing out on strong candidates who have several opportunities to pursue

Wealth Management

Continued increase in opportunities at all levels and throughout the UK. Demand is prevalent at the experienced level, with a focus on qualified investment managers.

Key operational and business support staff static. Compliance and risk also static, with recruiting in the CASS space remaining challenging.


Increased demand across technology, business and change function. This is partly down to platform upgrades and new client wins.

Proposition and marketing specialists are required to support business growth and strategies. Niche skills becoming increasingly in demand.


Continued scrutiny with the regulator has led to a demand in compliance and risk field.

Growth for DB pension transfer specialists; demand is high but skills are in shortage in Scotland.

The restructuring taking place within several organisations has led to spikes across marketing/product, IT and business change.

Accounting & Finance

Financial Sector

Highly competitive market for qualified professionals in several key disciplines. Audit has been in constant demand across 2018; with global IFRS experience in particular demand.

An upturn in Finance Business Partner roles was evident from newly qualified to Senior Manager level. Tax, particularly relating to funds, also highly sought after.

Public Practice

Trend of increased recruitment in regional UK offices (outside London) still evident. Large exodus of qualified Accountants in newly qualified into FS industry in last month, post training contract.

Many Scottish Practices in Big 4 ‘importing’ talent from international offices. Mirroring industry demands – fund tax professionals in demand.



The demand has continued to be strong for lawyers across financial services, fintech, manufacturing and energy, though candidates are becoming harder to find due to a lack of volume across the 1- 7 years PQE range.

This is driven by organisations continuing to bring lawyers in-house to reduce external legal spend.

Private practice

Demand for qualified lawyers currently outstrips supply across most of the disciplines within private practice.

The specialist areas of commercial real estate and corporate are particularly sought after, especially lawyers with NQ-6 years PQE. 


Executive, IT & Change

Rates for IT & Change contractors continue to rise across the board in Scotland.

Large scale corporate integrations, acquisitions, all against a backdrop of new technology adoption, has significantly increased the demand for specialist, short term resource albeit with a short fall off towards the end of summer.

Core Business Functions

High demand for interim BAU staff remains and is expected to continue into Autumn, driving rates up.

Resource is required across investment operations due to corporate changes and natural attrition. Demand for investment data professionals also remains.

Corporate and regulatory changes continue the need for risk specialists.

Accounting & Finance

Fully-qualified and good part-qualified accountants have been high in demand, driven by a number of projects within large organisations. Demand is expected to remain high in coming months.

Demand is also expected to remain high for experienced internal auditors and tax professionals with candidate shortages driving rates up.

Business Support 

Demand for customer service professionals and basic administration support remains high due to regulatory and competitor changes in the market.

High volume recruitment in these areas has offered graduates an excellent first step into the sector. Rates remain relatively steady across the market.

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