The 2019 Morgan McKinley Salary Guide: Organisations’ hiring plans for 2018 hold up despite Brexit unpredictability

Global professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley has released its 2019 Salary Guide for the UK. The guide highlights the heightened importance of strong talent attraction and retention, with a resurgence of counter-offers and new benefit packages, as organisations took necessary steps to establish stability in their workforces as we head towards the Brexit ‘leave date’.

Whilst recruitment into banking, financial and professional services across London, the Home Counties and the South West remained resilient in 2018, there were slight decreases in professionals actively looking for work across Compliance, Financial Services Operations and Strategy, Projects & Change when compared to figures from 2017. This can partially be attributed to organisations doing their utmost to hold onto employees in an attempt to stabilise the workforce. Positively, there were increases in roles available across Accounting & Finance in Banking, HR, Legal, Internal Audit, Marketing, Procurement, Sales and Tax.

Key 2019 Salary Guide highlights showed:

  • Brexit caused uncertainty but drove a moderate level of hiring in the UK across certain areas including Accounting & Finance, Compliance, Financial Services Operations, Legal, Strategy Projects & Change and Tax
  • Companies attempted to tie down talent and create stability in the run up to the uncertain times of a post-Brexit Britain
  • Professionals are jumping at any opportunity to work on Brexit projects as it offers a once in a lifetime opportunity
  • Cutting costs was evident with organisations continuing to offshore functions to more cost effective locations and others taking steps to move contractors to permanent placements
  • Interview processes were swift and succinct – the longer the process, the less likely a strong candidate would choose to join as they often had offers from competitors
  • A resurgence of counter-offers and buybacks which resulted in upward pressure on salaries and companies paying over the odds to retain their best staff
  • Organisations that embraced new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Machine Learning were perceived as more attractive as professionals want to work with cutting edge technology in their industry, particularly across Accounting & Finance, Compliance, HR, Internal Audit, IT/Tech, Legal, Marketing, SPC, Supply Chain & Procurement and Tax
  • Diversity and inclusion remained a focus in recruitment, particularly for the banking sector, where addressing the gender imbalance at senior management/board level was top of lists with some organisations requesting female-only shortlists when recruiting

Recruiting in the professional market place in 2018 was a bumpy, at times uncertain, but in the end positive experience, in which we saw our own revenue grow” commented David Leithead, Chief Operations Officer of Morgan McKinley UK. “Brexit caused many hiring managers to hesitate, but it also caused others to press ahead and strengthen teams to deal with the new world order; companies seemed to see 2018 as a critical time to secure talent in the run up to March 2019.”

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David continued: “There was also plenty of business-as-usual hiring in response to new regulations, with GDPR being a key theme in the first half and MiFID II continuing to be a focus for many. Whilst job seeker numbers and advert responses were up, this didn’t signal a switch to a buyer’s market – talent remained king, in short supply and fiercely contested for.”

In 2018, the UK remained a major financial hub and ‘Centre of Excellence’ – this is expected to continue even after the Brexit leave date. Whilst some industries, including IT/Tech, have struggled with a skills shortage due to a lack of EU professionals, many others expect to continue attracting overseas talent and investment. This said, the processes of obtaining working visas is still unclear. The delaying of the implementation of IR35 payroll changes to the private sector until April 2020 will provide respite for limited company contractors, meaning the recruitment of contract professionals over the coming year will likely remain consistent.

This report provides a review of 2018 by analysing the employment market including popular roles, skills and qualifications, noticeable workplace trends, as well as salary and contract figures for professionals in Accounting & Finance, Compliance, Financial Services Operations, HR, Internal Audit, IT/Tech, Legal, Marketing, Office Support, Public Practice, Risk Management, Sales, Strategy, Projects & Change Management, Supply Chain & Procurement and Tax.

To view the salary guides on the Morgan McKinley website, click here.