Insights & News


HR In The City – Q1 2016 Update

by Iain McAdam


JD Haspel has just released its Q1 HR Market Moves report, which is an overview of the senior HR moves that we have tracked across the financial services sector in the UK, including people who have moved out of sector.  It’s fairly comprehensive and gives us a good view of what’s happened in the senior HR employment market across financial services so far this year.

Banking has generally been quiet with only one major bank making any significant hires during the first quarter.  As expected, there has been some major restructuring of the HR functions of the larger banks but this has mostly meant a shuffling of the deck-chairs and some trimming of the HR leadership team.  When people have left of their own volition, they have mostly been replaced internally.

Interestingly, the majority of HR people leaving the big banks have moved out of the financial services sector completely.  This could be good news for us in the executive search world when banks need to hire for senior HR roles in the future – but not so good news for HR succession plans in the banking world if the HR talent drain continues.

Outside banking, the insurance sector has been relatively busy with a number of senior hires being made in HR.  The sector is going through a significant period of change with consolidation and digitisation key themes. The HR hires that have been made reflect this with most of the successful candidates coming from other sectors to improve diversity of thought and to bring new skills to the sector.

Broadly speaking most senior HR hiring activity in financial services has been with mid-sized businesses rather than the bigger firms.  It has predominantly been focused on the generalist HR population with one significant OD role and two resourcing roles happening in the sector this quarter – and only one reward role (but then comp round has only recently finished).  As generalists are expected to cover more ground in their roles, I would expect this theme to continue.

So, as predicted, a pretty quiet start to the year.  Q2 is normally when we would see most hiring activity in the City following bonuses being paid and the Easter break. It’s still early days with some schools still not due to go back until next week; however, there is an underlying theme of low (voluntary) attrition rates across the City regardless of function, with bonus rounds not sparking the resignations predicted in many quarters.   That, in addition to the uncertainty around Brexit, and the US banks being told to reform or face the consequences, there are still choppy waters ahead.

More to follow in July, post referendum…