Brexit? It's business as usual

Brexit. Yes we know, you are probably more than tired of hearing that word, especially after the recent vote, but for those in the financial sector the creeping fears of exactly how it could damage jobs has been a very real worry. Especially with all the reports of big company cutbacks and potential relocations. The financial sector accounts for 12% of UK GDP, it creates over 12 million jobs, and it is the country’s biggest exporter, generating nearly 50% of the UK’s trade surplus. As such, it is a big deal and to think that it is being forgotten in the ongoing deals is hugely unlikely. Certainly, nobody knows for sure what is likely to happen when (the increasingly extended) time is up and the button actually gets pushed, but there are indications that things may not be as bad for the financial sector as they seem.

A good way to see the ‘on the ground’ effects of the last two years is to look at recruitment. Surely if things were looking dire companies would be cutting back on hiring in preparation of some big shake-ups? Here at Ad Idem, we’ve found the opposite.

As business owners, when brexit was voted in we were worried about how this would affect things in the job market. How would our newly formed business stand up to the uncertainty and the unknown world without the Europe we take for granted? Two years on we can honestly say it has not taken business away from us and probably given us an edge and opportunity. Yes, some companies will use brexit as an excuse to be cautious and delay hiring but over time they have to accept that with all the uncertainty they need to carry on, business as usual.

It’s not just us that are cautiously optimistic. Executives from JPMorgan, Citi, and Barclays Ireland spoke to UK MPs at the end of 2018, estimating that their banks were, at this time, expecting just a few hundred job losses. Certainly not the 40000 that have been suggested (https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/jpmorgan-citi-and-barclays-london-brexit-banking-job-losses-2018-9).

Our FS operations team is busier than ever; our clients are the boutique hedge funds and asset managers who work internationally and whose clients are doing well from the uncertainty of the markets. And according to AIMA figures, with around 500 Hedge Fund companies in the UK generating 10,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs, the hedge fund sector is certainly no small part of the FS industry. Our clients in this field are seeking to hire both in London and internationally, trusting that top talent will be required whatever eventuality.

One main area of concern has been for those starting out in the industry, but again this hasn’t been our experience. Our graduate division Ad Grad is as busy as we have ever seen it, with clients offering to pay us double our previously agreed rate to receive the best grads from the best universities. Only a war for talent makes it hard to secure these people as there are so many roles open to them.

It’s not just the hedge funds and graduates though, core areas like accounting are also pretty boyuant. Our finance and accounting division is busy on both the interim and permanent side. Where they are not sure of perm head count, our clients need project people to work on FTC on a particular fixed-term assignment. And our perm division is crying out for newly qualified ACAs; candidates from the big 4 and top 10 accounting firms are being snapped up after one interview in order to secure them before someone else does. Instability and uncertainty needs a steady ship to steer it so when FDs and FCs leave they need to be replaced to ensure stability is in order.

Stability and preparedness seem to be the key words, with FS companies doing all they can cover all the eventual outcomes.

In the same way that the government are recruiting hundreds of civil servants to work on every brexit eventuality so are businesses looking to financial strategy and need senior interims to model scenarios and support decisions from board to analyst level. Our youngest and thriving Ad Exec division places interims into PE portfolio companies and is actually busier than ever post the leave vote. International PE businesses are investing in European businesses and need high calibre candidates to work on a project basis both on London and across Europe. There is also increased demand for bilingual and highly intelligent accountants who work at the Cfo and senior manager level, are prepared to travel internationally, and can contract in countries such as Germany and Austria where contracting is not common place and there is a major shortage of talent.

So, in short, it really is business as usual here at Ad Idem. Yes, people are cautious and thoughtful about their next job move but as a non-aggressive consultative business we understand that. If either you or Ad Idem don’t think a position is right for you, or you change your mind mid-process, we accept your thoughts and support candidates through the process. Most of our senior clients have been one-time candidates of our directors; they have grown up asking us for honest advice. That is why we enter 2019 optimistic that Ad Idem will not suffer as a result of brexit and may in fact be busier as a result of the changes needed to accommodate the reality of it once, of course, it is finally agreed.

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