What is the Market like?

What is the Market like?

As recruiters, we are asked this question all the time.  A slow-down is inevitable after a number of years of growth. Recruitment activity is as good a bellwether as any economic indicator – our industry is the first to feel a down turn and the first to feel an upswing.


As we move closer to the end of 2019, we are both very busy yet wary as to the outlook for 2020. While activity levels have remained steady through 2019, the optimism and buoyancy of 2015-2018 have dimmed somewhat in light of key global events including political uncertainty (Brexit, US/China situation) and tempered economic outlook across the Eurozone.


A look back…

Banking Recruitment activity with International Banks has been steady particularly in treasury, IT, risk, compliance and finance. This is mostly driven by existing players ramping up their business in Ireland in advance of Brexit, and some new entrant activity.


Recruitment activity with Irish Banks has been slow with cost cutting agendas and hiring freezes imposed by some of the larger players as Banks seek to reduce cost income ratios and deal with the ever-increasing cost of compliance and regulation.


The card and payments sector has been very busy across the board. Exciting developments include the establishment by Revolut of an operation in Ireland.


Non Bank Lenders have had a period of stabilisation post a number of years of rapid growth, however non-banks remain an attractive outlet for candidates who are seeking to create a career in financial services in a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment.


Insurance recruitment has been busy with a combination of Brexit ramp-ups, start-ups, restructurings and continual organic growth. We note a particular shortage of nearly/Qualified Actuaries. This is partially due to an increase in demand for actuarial qualifications in technology and Fintech.


Aviation leasing has remained busy and continues to be a very positive success story for the economy. H2 has been notable slower with the grounding of certain Boeing aircraft, and related uncertainty delivery dates affecting many financing companies.


Corporate Finance & Investment has been relatively flat, with advisory firms pipelines experiencing a dip in H2’19 as uncertainty around Brexit forcing buy/sell decisions onto the back burner for a time at least. Real estate/Property investment has continued its upward curve, with some real openings for first rate analysts/associates with a tangible interest in the sector.


Accounting & Finance

The accountancy market has had a solid 2019 to date, demand levels for recently qualified accountants up to Financial Controller level has remained strong.  Particularly noticeable shortages at recently level. Recruitment activity at the CFO/ FD level has been relatively quiet over the past six months with recruitment process taking significantly longer than usual.


Professional Services activity remains strong in 2019, with many new advisory/coverage areas being staffed. There is a slowing of pipeline particularly in areas like corporate finance. Shortages remain at Audit Manager – Director and across Tax at all levels.


A look forward…

While cautious about the longer term outlook, we feel that that 2020 will be a good year, bolstered by a Brexit bounce in Q1 and continued US fiscal stimulus in advance of the autumn presidential elections. In a low and stable interest environment, there remains a significant search for yield, and this will continue to drive investment agendas across finance and financial services businesses.



Take Aways…

  • Shortages do exist in particular areas. Risk and Compliance and Recently Qualified are business areas in which we have witnessed unprecedented demand.
  • Talent attraction and retention strategies are becoming crucial and employers must adapt to employee work practice expectations. Example Health and Wellness programmes, parental level, flexible hours. Through 2019, we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of requests around flexible working in particular, with candidates becoming more and more engaged by firms offering some flexibility.
  • It is important to consider a strategy for attracting candidates to positions and companies. With so much choice for certain categories of candidates, an embedded strategy that we are all bought into make the recruitment process much more meaningful.
  • Workplace diversity – board level and public scrutiny is really driving change. Hiring strategies are now demanding of diversity. This is a most welcome development.


These are just some considerations!


At FK International, we are well-positioned to assist you with your financial recruitment requirements. With 20 years’ in this sector, we have seen this before, and as a result we are uniquely placed to assist businesses in advising on and sourcing the best talent.


Should you wish to discuss further or require assistant on a specific staffing requirement, please do not hesitate to contact Ger Buckley – COO, on 01 668 8060 or email