Banking & financial services half year market update

Banking & financial services half year market update

Role volumes have been steady for our core candidate base of finance professionals and CAs throughout the first half of 2019. We have seen continued success in placing newly qualified accountants into clients seeking raw talent to grow within their business.

In addition, at the senior end we have worked several roles as replacement hires at CFO or Head of Finance levels.

Download a copy of the full Half Year Market Update for South Africa here.

Our candidates continue to be attracted by brand, challenge, and compensation; and, in the case of Finance professionals, there’s an increasing desire for “hybrid” roles that allow them to future-proof their career. Examples have included classic financial reporting combined with business development; P&L production twinned with automation and robotics; and candidates using Financial Modelling & Valuation skills in an Investment Analyst role.

With the most talented candidates, job security, recognition, and the freedom to see their ideas take flight, are key factors for a move. Salaries have increased somewhat to compensate for the increase in the cost of living here in SA, but for the most part candidate expectation outstrips reality and a compromise is required in line with the strongly felt cost-pressures of our clients.

With the general election causing ripples in May 2019, the headline struggles of audit firms re: corruption, and some sluggish growth within South Africa, it’s no surprise that employers are cautious about making hires, resulting in an increasingly competitive market for jobseekers.

However, clients including insurers, challenger banks, and smaller-boutique finance houses have flourished. This has been through a process of consistently evaluating and re-establishing their own unique offering within the market, whether that be BEE transactions, a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, or value added through a greater digital presence.

From a Corporate Finance perspective, the big brand banks continue to vie for market share. For this reason and others, we have seen demand for not just dealmakers, but also for customer/client journey professionals. This client experience trend has been firmly mirrored in the Retail Banking and Corporate Banking markets.

The risk career market demands constant development and evolution of new instruments and derivatives, providing a strong demand for quant & pricing professionals. But of all markets, it’s the actuarial space where we have seen severe talent shortages, with roles for fully-qualified actuaries staying open anywhere from 8 – 12 months.

To deal with this shortage we advise clients to look at the skilled non-South African population for shorterterm assignments, to avoid leaving these roles empty for extended time periods.

As expected, Employment Equity considerations continue to be paramount, and will continue to be a crucial part of hiring processes into an exciting second half of 2019.

Download a copy of the full Half Year Market Update for South Africa here.

To discuss these trends further, please contact Megan Prosser, Manager at Robert Walters South Africa, on +27 (0)11 881 2410 or

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