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FINANCIAL SERVICES RECRUITMENT: HOW TO STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE

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Financial Services recruitment: How to stay ahead of the curve

Over the past couple of years we have seen HR approval turnaround times increase across the Financial Services sector. In fact, we are finding that in some cases, time to hire figures across mid-junior level recruitment is taking months rather than weeks. The impact that this can have on business productivity is phenomenal. Unfilled roles will leave organisations with significant skills gaps, leading to a negative impact on output and worse still, a considerable effect on the bottom line.

Chris Merrick

Chris Merrick

Coupled with this, in a jobs market which is now largely candidate-led, high in demand job seekers with the necessary skills for these roles are now basing their employment choices, in some cases, on the organisation that is quickest to make an offer. In fact, in a scenario where candidates are talking to multiple companies that can fulfil their needs, and that they believe are leaders in their market, it is often the deciding factor. This means that across the Financial Services sector, businesses are missing out on potentially great talent, all because their HR and resourcing processes are inefficient. Essentially, the slower they are, the harder it will be to recruit good candidates.

Below, I discuss why financial services organisations need to ensure they have an efficient recruitment process in place, if they want to stay ahead of the curve:

Engage early

Across the Financial Services sector, organisations must start recognising that the very best candidates may now receive two or three offers at the same time, and are therefore more likely to go with an organisation that has nurtured them and ultimately made them feel wanted.

Resourcing efficiencies and the attraction of great candidates goes hand in hand. You need to be able to attract the right people, often candidates that are not actively looking for a move, at the right time, and once you have identified those candidates you must ensure that the process to screen, interview, offer and on-board them is efficient and positive. Many of us will have been approached about opportunities that have then taken weeks or even months to progress, an instant turn off for me when considering a business I want to work for.

Our latest Workforce Horizons report found that HR decision makers across the UK understand that identifying and nurturing top talent at an early stage is highly important. The survey found 94% of respondents believe it is vital that employers engage with the very best talent before a position is even available. The question is: how do you get the balance between early engagement, and making sure the candidate feels that they are moving toward the next step in their career?

Define your recruitment strategy

There are a number of reasons the recruitment process takes so long. It could be that there is no definitive recruitment strategy in place, and line managers and directors alike are having to pencil in CV screenings and interviews around their busy schedules. To add to this, most businesses have now been stripped right back, meaning workloads have significantly increased and recognising that early engagement is essential, companies are approaching candidates before roles have even been identified and a hiring budget agreed The final point is obviously a positive move, but if handled in the wrong way can really damage your ability to hire the people you want in your business.

Partnering with recruitment organisations who have the tools and expertise to manage your process, and creating a defined recruitment strategy with them, can immediately remove some of this burden. Professional recruiters can advise on the issues you are likely to face, make useful introductions to the wider tools available in the market, and not just act as a CV sending service. They can build, develop and manage specific talent pools on your behalf, (which is key to reducing time-to-hire figures across the industry), whilst ensuring you are able to continue to attract the most talented and sought after people.

Get business buy-in early

Another important step to take is to discuss this recruitment strategy with line managers and directors as early as possible to ensure everyone’s buy-in from the outset. This will immediately speed up approval turnaround times as managers will know what role they play in the recruitment process, how much input they’ll need to give and the immediate benefits of getting the right people and skills into their teams. The nature of recruitment is that it is unpredictable. People leave unexpectedly, contracts are won that require quick ramp up and business strategies change to meet the demands in the market. However if you can support this with a workforce plan and a recruitment process and strategy that is pre agreed and communicated, but flexible enough to cope, then your business will see a real improvement on the people that you attract into your organisation.

The financial services industry has seen some tumultuous times over the past decade, and there has definitely been some lessons learnt around recruitment and retention of talent. What’s clear from the above is that in order to remain competitive in 2016 and beyond, financial services organisations need to have efficient recruitment processes in place, which includes engaging with candidates and getting buy-in from the business as early as possible whilst not losing sight of the fact that you are trying to attract people who have emotions and make their decisions based on their first experiences with your organisation.

Not every company needs to outsource the end to end process. There are efficiencies to be gained every step of the way, and finding a business that can add value at individual stages of hiring can bring you quick and significant benefits. One recruitment process does not solve everyone’s challenges, it’s about finding out what gaps you have and what can be enhanced. This could be anything from having the time to genuinely manage a talent pool, to dealing with the large response of candidates that apply, or it could be a process that runs from end to end and removes the burden from your business.

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 1

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 2

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes

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Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes 3

By Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Packaged food giants including Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Kellogg are pushing sales of their products to consumers directly via their own online channels, in a quest to gather more data about shoppers’ purchasing habits.

Velveeta-cheese maker Kraft Heinz saw its e-commerce sales double in 2020, now representing more than 5% of its global sales, Chief Executive Miguel Patricio said at the virtual Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference this week.

The company sells Heinz baked beans and tomato soup by subscription or in bundles directly to consumers on a “Heinz To Home” website in the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.

Sales on the site are “giving us valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling us to quickly test and learn from innovations,” Kraft’s head of international business, Rafael de Oliveira, said at the conference.

Kraft would continue to use the site as a channel to generate strong sales in developed markets, he said.

The company also counts sales of its products through marketplaces such as on Amazon.com and Walmart.com as part of its e-commerce sales.

U.S. shoppers spent on average $1,271 buying groceries online last year, 45% more than they did in 2019 as the pandemic spurred shopping online, according to market research firm Earnest Research. In contrast, the average dollars spent in stores rose only about 7% to $3,849.

PepsiCo sells products including Doritos, Quaker oats and Gatorade directly to consumers through two websites, pantryshop.com and snacks.com, both launched in 2020.

Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said that more than 45% of the company’s capital investments over the next few years would be dedicated toward manufacturing capacity, automation, and a “ramping up of investments in our e-commerce channel.”

As major online retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart.com continue to gather valuable data on shoppers, many packaged food manufacturers are keen to gather their own data on shoppers, too.

“COVID (has) simply accelerated our digital growth and has provided us with yet another source of data and insight,” Monica McGurk, chief growth officer at breakfast cereal maker Kellogg Co., told the conference.

Kellogg, producer of Corn Flakes as well as Pringles chips, said on Wednesday it had launched a direct-to-consumer website focused on digestive wellness. The group plans to sell its new Mwell Microbiome Powder for gut health via the site to gather data on customer interest before it launches the product more widely.

E-commerce sales have doubled in the past year and now represent about 8.5% of the group’s $13.77 billion in annual sales, Kellogg said.

Pillsbury dough-maker General Mills also sees the benefits of tracking consumer habits more closely.

“We’re aggressively investing in data and analytics. We are gathering unparalleled insights from the first-party data we collect through our brand websites,” General Mills’ Chief Executive Jeffrey Harmening said at the conference.

On its Bettycrocker.com website, General Mills provides hundreds of recipes using Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting. The site leads people to the closest store or an online retailer where they can purchase the products, thereby generating data for General Mills on what a particular customer from a certain zip code is buying. The company does not sell the food products directly on its website.

Consumers, however, may have to shell out more if they shop directly from brand websites.

Prices on the two PepsiCo sites, for example, were generally higher than those on Walmart.com or Amazon.com, Reuters checks show. On Walmart.com, for example, a 10 oz pack of Doritos Nacho Cheese was on sale for $2.50 compared to $4.29 on Pepsico’s website.

Kraft Heinz offers tins of soup, beans, pasta and baby food bundled into packs ranging from six to 25 items and costing between 10 and 20 pounds ($14.01-$28.03) on its UK website. It told Reuters the relatively higher prices of items and bundling of packs than on some other online marketplaces was to be able to eke out a margin after including delivery costs.

“Longer term, we see real value in this channel to be an insight and data channel for us,” Jean-Philippe Nier, head of e-commerce for Kraft Heinz’s business in the UK and Ireland, told Reuters. People are more prepared to order directly from manufacturers than they were before. The time is now.”

Graphic: Direct online sales to cross $20 billion in 2021 – https://graphics.reuters.com/PACKAGEDFOODS-ECOMMERCE/rlgpdexngvo/chart.png

($1 = 0.7137 pounds)

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Susan Fenton)

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