Financial Services Recruitment Update April 2020

Financial Services Recruitment Update April 2020

Reporting on what we are seeing right now, avoiding the crystal ball.

  • There has been no significant loss of roles across the sectors as a result of COVID; with two of the big four banks publicly stating that there will be no loss of roles or restructures during this period.
  • One large employer has committed to the payment of a COVID allowance to supplement standard redundancy payments where roles will be lost due to pre-planned changes within the group.
  • Reduction of hours by 20%, by all employees, across an entire business has become increasingly common place as organisations seek to lower costs. This trend emerged during the GFC but was not widely utilised, however in 2020 many groups have moved to this as a first step (instead of reducing FTE).
  • Project portfolios are being replanned with a view to reducing or redirecting discretionary spend where appropriate. This has led to a minor reduction in contractor head count.

Investment Management & Platforms

  • In the majority of cases, front office roles have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.  Roles deemed to be Business Critical are still progressing – in many cases, employers with sophisticated HR programs are able to virtually interview and onboard candidates.
  • Although hiring is largely on hold, we have not seen a significant number of redundancies at this point within Investment Management.  Most Managers are not preparing to make headcount cuts and are in favour of reducing hours in order to save their broader teams roles.  Some prolific managers have even offered extra leave during this period as well as providing a commitment to not making redundancies.  Firms that have been hit particularly hard by the market conditions are exploring a combination of redundancies and reduced hours to save costs.
  • We are expecting to see some redundancies prior to the end of FY20, however we do not believe that they will be as significant as what we saw in the GFC.


  • Superannuation funds are receiving daily calls from APRA & ASIC in regards to liquidity and some of these have put all recruitment on hold as they focus on business-critical activities and engagement with their members.
  • The Superannuation/Sovereign wealth funds that are still recruiting business critical roles and are utilising technology to expedite the interview process and ensure a smooth virtual onboard of new employees.


  • Hiring in Advice has continued, in particular we have seen an increase in demand for support staff due to firms struggling to keep up with the high volume of client demand arising from market volatility.
  • Remediation; the government is relying on the large remediation programs to commence making payments (the sooner the cash is in the hands of the consumer the better) as a result, apart from a few delays with onboarding, recruitment of remediation roles will continue at a steady pace.


  • Hiring in Claims across Retail and Group Insurance (at all levels) remains active with demand for talent high.
  • The Workers Compensation sector remains relatively unaffected and is operating as business as usual with demand for people in Claims and Case Management continuing to be strong.
  • Broking continues to hire, though role numbers are down circa 20%.
  • There have been redundancies across the Travel Insurance sector.


  • The Retail Lending market continues to be busy with many post settlement requests such as discharges and variations creating demand for skilled people.
  • The demand for front facing Client Services roles within the Call Centres has increased in order to deal with the current high call volumes.

Business Projects

  • Hiring activity continues across Remediation (Banking, Insurance and Advice); regulatory reform (Financial Markets) & financial crime.
  • Key areas of demand for people across projects:
    • COVID response
    • IT infrastructure and IT support
    • Digital enablement
    • Risk, regulatory, compliance
    • Remediation

Information Technology

  • While there has been a significant drop in permanent roles, the demand for contractors remains resilient across Infrastructure, Data & BI, Development and IT Project Services.

Accounting & Finance

  • Finance teams have been very lean for a number of years with people becoming increasingly more specialised. Current business demands combined with offshore teams unable to operate at 100% due to lockdowns is placing very high pressure on Finance teams who are being asked to deliver more with less (rather than head count being added to teams).
  • Economic downturns usually lead to a surge in requests for information and analysis and regular reforecasting, accordingly we anticipate seeing more Finance roles falling under the definition of ‘business critical’ and will result in additional hiring.

Legal, Risk &Compliance 

  • We have seen an increase in new roles coming onto the market, in addition to a large number of roles waiting upon approval. The majority of these are not as a direct result of COVID-19 and were part of the Q2 workforce strategy.
  • Start dates of a number of appointments have been brought forward by one to three weeks to assist in alleviating work volumes.

Operations & Customer Service

  • Due to high call volumes we have seen an increase in demand for people.
  • There are a lot of candidates in the market due to recent job losses in travel and retail, however excluding entry level roles clients require sector knowledge and experience.
  • Not everyone is hiring externally; one health insurance provider re-housed all its branch staff within its call centres.