The impact of Covid-19, Brexit and the climate crisis are accelerating changes to the make-up of Scotland’s financial sector, according to Core-Asset Consulting’s latest report.
It comes as the recruiter posts a 28% fall in new vacancies during 2020, along with a 10% drop in new candidates – suggesting constrained opportunities and reduced movement in the jobs market.
Betsy Williamson, the founder and managing director of Core-Asset, said: “The last 12 months have changed the face of the sector forever – we’ve seen social and economic changes take place at a velocity unlike anything previously experienced.
“For instance, we’re on a knife-edge when it comes to gender diversity and equality of opportunities – women in senior roles could be hit hardest, as they’ve worked so hard to get to those roles, but many are now carrying lots of extra responsibilities.”
Williamson said this should be taken as a warning, with companies potentially finding themselves on the brink of inadvertently pushing out waves of women if they do not acknowledge cultural barriers online and accommodate the challenges faced by working parents.
“On the flip side there is a glimmer of hope in that we’ve had to confront head-on prejudices against home or flexible working.”
The guide sets the stall for salary reviews in Scotland’s financial services sector, which usually happen in March and April.
The report points out that even before the pandemic, financial services faced serious headwinds because of the political and economic situation caused by Brexit.
That meant cost-cutting was the dominant theme in the financial services sector within Scotland in early 2020.
Driven by several large industry mergers and a focus on controlling costs, sector consolidation created an hourglass-shaped market, with established global players at the top, a few mid-sized companies in the middle and a large number of boutiques and fintech start-ups at the bottom.
The impact of the pandemic has also continued the trend of drawing employees towards socially responsible organisations and opportunities.
In the world of investment, a growing awareness of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) factors is putting added pressure on fund managers, the report noted.
Williamson added: “ESG is no longer a box-ticking exercise where investment houses can take the path of least resistance, it is expected that it is now an integral part of the investment process.
“This is intertwined with the debate on diversity too – the investment industry standard demographic of men from a certain era, who see the world through set eyes, may find this exceptionally challenging.”
Core-Asset Consulting is a Scottish recruitment and headhunting agency dedicated to financial and professional services.
Formed in 2005 and based in Edinburgh, the firm employs 22 people.
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