The Challenges of Hiring Risk and Compliance Professionals

In the wake of the global financial crisis, the importance of risk and compliance professionals has increased, and hiring them has become a bigger priority for those in the financial services industry.

However, whether recruiters are seeking candidates to fill mortgage compliance jobs, or they are in desperate need of risk analysts, there are several major issues to overcome in the current climate. These issues include a serious supply shortage, requiring firms to be more flexible and make the roles more appealing than in the past.

risk management, risk and compliance professionals, risk and compliance jobs

Spike in Demand

Many of the current challenges of hiring risk and compliance professionals were caused by the banking crisis. Understandably, the crisis led directly to increased pressure from regulatory bodies, including the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England, which subsequently created a sudden spike in demand.

Companies like HSBC and Morgan Stanley significantly bolstered their risk and compliance staff numbers, enticing workers away from other sectors and smaller firms. Simultaneously, many businesses have branched out further, expanding into markets where they too need experienced risk and compliance professionals.

“There’s a war for compliance and risk management talent,” Tom Rollauer told the 2014 Annual Compliance Week Conference. “Some of the more experienced compliance officers are moving from institution to institution…because banks need high-calibre personnel.”

Supply Problems

The increase in demand alone would be enough to present problems, but alongside that there is also an issue with the supply of risk and compliance talent. The financial crisis damaged the reputation of the financial services industry, perhaps making it less attractive than it was in the past, while the reputation of risk and compliance jobs, in particular, is not especially great, with many in the younger generation viewing it as a ‘boring’ career path.

Moreover, there are issues with graduate schemes, according to recruitment company, Core-Asset Consulting. They have called on firms to offer better tailored graduate programmes, in order to solve the problem in the long-term.

“Not many asset managers, if any, run specific risk and compliance graduate schemes,” the company said in an employer advice document. “If they do, they are not well publicised. More generic graduate schemes can provide a route to a career in risk and compliance, but not enough is done to promote the profession.”

Broadening the Search

The problems with both supply and demand have meant that many recruiters are having to broaden their search. Instead of hiring a direct replacement for any risk or compliance staff they lose, they may instead look at people working in other roles, but who have the skills and qualities necessary to do the job to a high standard.

In terms of where to look, it may be sensible for hiring organisations to turn to those already working in financial services – for example in pension, banking or mortgage jobs. Similarly, those with a history of working in product governance may already have many of the core skills needed to work in risk or compliance. Usually, employers exploring this avenue will still demand a level of investment management knowledge.

Alternatives include candidates who work in accounting, as their training often includes elements of regulation, compliance and risk management. Meanwhile, hiring from abroad can pay dividends, especially as overseas recruits may have a knowledge of other markets, but this type of recruitment is often linked with poor retention rates.

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