Brexit ‘hurt Scots finance recruitment, salaries’

Betsy Williamson, Core-Asset Consulting managing director

The Brexit vote caused a “dramatic drop off” in recruitment activity across the Scottish financial sector and led to “paralysis” in salaries, according to leading Scots finance headhunters Core-Asset Consulting.

“Although very few vacancies were withdrawn as a result of the UK’s decision to leave Europe, the pipeline of activity markedly slowed,” wrote Betsy Williamson, Core-Asset Consulting managing director in the recruitment company’s Salary Guide 2017.

“Last year’s remuneration levels reflected this Brexit-induced paralysis.

“Aside from hard-to-fill pockets — e.g. risk, compliance, paraplanning, etc — salaries saw no signifcant shifts upwards.

“Few organisations were willing to overextend themselves in a climate stirred by political and economic uncertainty.”

Williamson said the uncertainty for Scottish financial sector recruitment would persist for some time to come.

“But as the terms of any exit agreement being to emerge, we expect the temporary and contract market to experience an upsurge in activity once the nature of Brexit becomes clear …

“But for the Scottish financial sector in general — hiring organisations and the partners supporting it — 2017 will most probably be a year of challenges and consolidation.”

In asset management, Core-Asset said: “We see no indication of a mass exodus of asset managers from Scotland or the UK, but there is an increased likelihood some will explore other EU jurisdictions as head office locations in the future.”

It said that in 2016 there was “a noticeable gap in the recruitment of lead or named portfolio managers” with a very small and limited amount of senior level positions.

“Conversely, there were several roles recruited for within investment risk and portfolio risk across equities, fixed income, and multi-asset markets.

“For positions at the upper end of the salary and technical experience spectrum, it was normal in 2016 for the recruitment process to take anywhere between 12 and 18 months to successfully conclude.”