Finance recruiters identify Scotland’s top post-lockdown career opportunities

Louise Powrie, Core-Asset's director of financial and professional services

SPECIALISTS in recruitment for Scotland’s financial services sector have outlined the top seven “trending” career paths for those looking to enter work or to retrain in. 

Based on statistics and industry insights from its annual salary guide, Core-Asset Consulting has pinpointed five areas that are experiencing surging demand levels – along with two reliable mainstays where demand regularly outstrips the number of candidates available. 

A recurring theme is emerging technology, as the wider industry continues to evolve. Roles comprising data analysis is the biggest growth area – and now accounts for 20% of all permanent vacancies listed by the Edinburgh firm, with salary growth outperforming the wider industry.

Louise Powrie, Director of Financial and Professional Services with Core Asset, said: “The pandemic has accelerated changes in the sector that were already in motion.

“We’ve seen a widespread adoption of tech – our clients need specialists across all areas of design, architecture and testing”

“This is all having a big impact on the “trending” skills and specialisms – and we can see clear areas where demand for candidates is growing at a rate the market can’t keep up with.

“If you’re looking to enter financial services, are mid-way through studying or have been made redundant, it pays to understand which roles are in demand and most likely to give you a raft of career opportunities.”

Core-Asset’s findings also show a major jump in demand for roles in “user experience or user design marketing”, as analytics and software improvements allows for more tailored experiences and firms seek to better understand client journeys and decision-making.

The third specialism identified is for roles linked to Agile methodology, which continues to be adopted at pace by financial services firms. “Product Managers” and “Scrum Masters” with accreditations have seen a 10% salary uplift over the past five years.

Solution Architects and Software Engineers, equipped with skills such as cloud computing are another specialism where candidates can enjoy their pick of the market, as demand for roles in this field have increased by around 25% over the last three years.

Likewise, the huge growth in ESG (environmental social governance) and expectations placed on investment businesses by customers and employees to be more ethical and sustainable is creating a groundswell of unmet demand for analysts and fund managers with proven experience and accreditations.  

While there have been a significant number of ‘new’ roles emerging, Louise is keen to shine a light on two ‘mainstays’; tax and audit accountants, and client services and relationships roles – which both held fast throughout the pandemic and have seen long-term job stability and opportunities.

Louise added: “While they are by no means new, we still face shortages in these two areas.  

“There is a sustained need for tax specialists across all sectors of the market and all corporate businesses need to ensure they are following the right governance, leading to a continuous need for people to fill tax-based roles.

“Starting a career in this sector does not necessarily mean you are going to work there for life, but it is certainly seen by many businesses as a solid foundation.

“Similarly, customer experience is unarguably one of the most important factors in obtaining and retaining clients and, as there are multiple roles at various levels of technicality within financial services and professional sector, client services can also present an opportunity for those without financial services experience to use their transferrable skills.”

As Scotland and the wider UK moves into economic recovery from the pandemic, Core-Asset is reporting that vacancies across all sectors have increased 123% in comparison to this time last year.

Now in its sixth year, Core-Asset Consulting’s “Industry Trends and Salary Guide” is a forensic review of industry trends across Scotland’s financial services sector. Uniquely, all of the data is entirely Scottish and the report sets expectation for those who are awarding salaries, allowing them to benchmark against competitor organisations.

The guide is also a gauge of market sentiment and activity, as well as the themes that are impacting financial services across Scotland. Major issues this year include diversity, ESG, Brexit and culture.

Core-Asset Consulting is Scotland’s pre-eminent recruitment and headhunting agency dedicated to financial and professional services. Formed in 2005 by founder, Betsy Williamson, it was born out of Betsy’s desire to take the best of her experience of large corporate recruiters, applying the focus on infrastructure and training to a more sector-specialised business.

Based in Edinburgh, the £14m firm employs 22 people and works across the entire financial services sector, from the smallest boutiques to the biggest global players.

The latest stories