City recruiters wage 'war for talent'

Source: Morgan McKinley


  • City recruitment cycle is moving into its next phase of growth with replacement as well as continued expansion hiring featuring more prominently
  • Candidates seeking new job opportunities rose by 5.7% in April compared to the previous month
  • New jobs continued to grow, up 20.4% on April 2005 levels
  • Time taken to place candidates dropped by over a month compared to the start of the year with an average time of just over 8 weeks compared to 12 weeks in January 2006
  • The focus of hiring is now predominantly at the middle-market level, with April salaries increasing 4.6% compared to March 2006

Candidate pool grows

High calibre financial services candidates have been in short supply for much of the first quarter of 2006. In the ensuing "war for talent", the City of London's financial institutions have had to adopt more creative strategies for attracting and retaining staff. Now that bonuses are safely in the bank, individuals are starting to explore some of the opportunities on offer and in turn, new candidate numbers have increased by 5.7% in April 2006 compared to March.

Robert Thesiger, Chief Executive of Morgan McKinley comments:

"2006 continues to be dominated by the "war for talent". With the City recruitment market in robust shape, fuelled by the organic growth currently taking place in the banking sector, there is growing confidence amongst finance workers to investigate and take up some of the exciting career opportunities on offer. In turn, as expected, we are starting to see more candidate movement in the market.

"However, this does not mean that the battle to attract and retain staff is diminishing; rather that organisations are now having to focus more closely on replacement as well as expansion hiring. We are moving into the next phase of the recruitment cycle with candidates still holding most of the aces and employers having to continue to develop ever more sophisticated hiring and retention strategies in order to win the battle."

Candidates should act now

With the gap between supply and demand closing, candidates need to act sooner rather than later or risk losing the advantage that the ‘war for talent’ has afforded those seeking a new challenge.

With more people applying for jobs, the decision to accept or reject an offer will need to be reached faster by candidates. Whereas in January it took an average of just over 12 weeks to place a candidate in a new role, in April the whole recruitment process was taking less than 8.5 weeks.

Robert Thesiger, Chief Executive of Morgan McKinley comments:

"In the first quarter of the year, with relatively few applicants per vacancy, candidates could afford to bide their time before reaching that all-important decision. While candidates are still in a strong position, growing candidate numbers will mean that the most sought-after roles are likely to be snapped up at a faster rate.

"Likewise, many of the top tier organisations have dedicated time and money to ensure the packages they offer fulfil the career, monetary and lifestyle requirements of candidates. As such, the offers have become ever more attractive and more candidates are being tempted to change roles. In turn, individuals and employers are acting more quickly to secure a move."

Middle market salaries grow

Middle market salaries grew by nearly five per cent (4.63%) from March to April 2006, taking the average salary to £45,564 – a figure that is 8.5% higher than this time last year.

Robert Thesiger, Chief Executive of Morgan McKinley comments: "Growth of middle market salaries is a reflection of the wider City recruitment cycle we are currently in. Healthy vacancy numbers and continued candidate shortages are ensuring that salary levels in this bracket are at their highest level in six months. We would expect this hiring pattern to continue for the remainder of the year."

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