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Post Lock-down Market Update for Risk & Compliance Roles

Pre-Covid, Risk & Compliance roles were burning hot in a very talent-short market. So, how has lock-down impacted on this specialist area? Tom Shaw, our Risk & Compliance Specialist explains:

1. How has Covid-19 and our lock-down affected the job market for Risk & Compliance roles?

The core of my Risk and Compliance work is in the wider Financial Services sector, which was deemed a critical service, so the overall job market hasn’t been greatly affected. What has shifted is client requirements following the push out from the FMA to regulatory requirement timelines. Also, technology and data risk for all clients has become, more than ever, an important task to tackle.

2. What are employers doing or planning to do in response?

Covid-19 is starting to revolutionize the way teams and businesses work and we are seeing that. Many organizations have split their workforce having them now rotate on a week on / week off basis between the office and home. The introduction and embracing of technology has allowed businesses to operate in a new and effective way and this is encouraging for all.

3. Have you seen more Kiwis returning from overseas (or inquiring about returning?)

Yes. I’ve had many inquiries, mainly from Kiwis looking to return from overseas markets (Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK). This is good news for the NZ market as talent pools are small, so I am looking forward to being able to speak with my clients about some of these people.  

4. What is happening with contract vs permanent roles?

The Risk and Compliance market has been dominated by permanent recruitment for the past four years, but due to key regulatory and outsourcing projects that many organizations are currently undertaking, we are seeing an upsurge in contract roles. This is likely to increase further as companies generally look at contract resource before committing to permanent headcount coming out of a recession. 

5. What opportunities are you seeing for employers right now?

With an influx of returning Kiwis, employers may have more choice in talent than they have had in the past few years, but I don’t think talent availability will remain for long. The opportunity to review your requirements and capitalize on highly sought after talent with unique and niche skill sets is better than ever, so the smart companies are actively recruiting right now.

6. What opportunities are you seeing for job seekers right now?

There is currently opportunity to work with some innovative iconic Kiwi FinTechs across operational risk and compliance roles. Secondly, we are seeing contract opportunities on key critical banking projects provide candidates with unique and interesting pieces of work to dive into over the next 6 – 12 months. Despite wider market conditions, there remains demand for good Risk and Compliance talent.

7. What advice do you have if you are a job seeker?

This is a great time to take a step back and look at how you can future proof yourself. For example:

  1. Future learning – the top 50 universities globally are offering multiple courses across leadership, strategy and risk management (many for free).
  2. CV – opportunity to enhance and update that CV, targeting it to your new potential role.
  3. Network – there has never been a better period in time when people are open to help and assist. Review your network, who haven’t you been in touch with?
  4. Marketing – Review your Linkedin profile – how can you improve it? Whether that is the presentation, reconnecting with connections or building out a new experience. Think about your unique selling propositions and how they can / may benefit your current and future connections.

8. Which skills continue to be highly sought after by employers, despite current conditions?

Industry experience continues to be a highly sought after skill across wider Risk and Compliance. Now more than ever, clients are looking for people to be able to step in and hit the ground running and those who have industry experience in other markets and been through particular projects, pieces of works, framework uplifts are highly sought after. In addition, there is a growing need for technology and data and those who have pure data and technology risk experience will be highly sought after in the next 6 – 12 months.

9. Where do you see the market heading and how can job seekers and employers make the most of it?

The Risk and Compliance market has certainly evolved over my four years working across it. For the next four years and the future I can see:

  1. Increased regulation and scrutiny from our regulators, thus creating higher demand for robust and mature risk functions and core critical roles. I don’t see this slowing any time soon, along with future projects that will be added in time.
  2. Covid-19 has certainly had a drastic impact on the world and one for many was from a technology standpoint. With organisations future-proofing themselves and building out continuity plans, working from home and more importantly providing their customers with technology solutions to its services, the demand and priority of technology and data risk will continue to grow.
  3. If I was a candidate working across the market, I would be looking at my skill set, where the market is evolving and how I can future proof myself. Think about the risks that businesses are likely to face now that they will need to offer new and innovative solutions to their customers.

10. Despite it all, what have you learnt or developed through a lock-down and how will it help you move forward?

A key element for me that I’ve learnt, is that there will always be demand for high-quality people, performers and skill sets. Covid-19 shaped and defined key critical businesses, along with how we all can evolve and operate adapting technology and the new ways of working to maximize productivity, resulting in greater flexibility and work-life balance for us all.

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