The 10 most sought after skills in UK financial services today

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The eurozone is embroiled in a fresh panic, investment banks are starting a new round of layoffs after second quarter results and employers are being more exacting than ever when recruiting for new staff.

However, financial services firms are still hiring, albeit more tentatively, and recruiters are still struggling to find specific skill-sets.

We’ve looked at what recruiters were searching for on the eFinancialCareers UK candidate database over the past month, and compiled the list of what appear to be the most desirable skill-sets in the City currently. What it shows is that both specialist technical and accounting skills remain in demand, while – unfortunately – appetite for recruiting investment bankers seems to have waned.

Here are the top 10 most searched for skills:

1. Auditing: In a sector where large numbers are recruited and churn is high, it’s not surprising that auditors remain in demand.

2.  Java: The key here is being a step above the competition, as banks continue to hunt for Java/Swing front end development skills. As Java developers also have the potential to move learn Scala – which is being more heavily utilised by financial services firms – it’s clear why firms still want to hear from them.

3. Quants with C++ skills: The appetite to hire quants appears to be strong, but if you can combine a PhD with C++ skills, then expect a call back.

4. Murex: While some suggest that the bottom has fallen out of the overcrowded Murex consulting sector, recruiters are still looking for this skill-set.

5. Product control: Some investment banks, notably Barclays recently, have been recruiting for product control roles. However, as banks have offshored more of these positions, clearly it’s become less attractive and therefore firms are struggling to find enough people.

6. ACA: Related to the above, and in line with our analysis about the most desirable qualifications, ACAs are very much in demand. ACCA and CIMA qualifications are also sought after.

7. Business analysis: Most banks are focusing on the impact that regulation will have on their technology requirements and recruiting IT staff for projects related to Basel III, Dodd-Frank and others. Currently, much of the recruiting is focused on business analysts, rather than developers, which helps explain why this is a desirable skill-set.

8. Project management: Again, part of this can be explained by the need to hire for IT projects, but financial services firms are also in the midst of transformational initiatives that require the services of project managers – and there’s a shortage.

9. Operational risk:  Considering the increase in internal and external risks across a range of departments facing the financial sector currently, it’s perhaps not surprisingly to see operational risk high on the list of desirable skills.

10. Compliance: Yes, it’s becoming a cliché to say that financial services firms need compliance staff. However, it remains true.

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