Risk & compliance jobs soar as banks brace for new financial regulation in 2022

Feb 24, 2022 | Finance, News

  • Hiring for risk and compliance specialists in banks up 98.9% year-on-year
  • Overall banking jobs in UK hit all-time monthly record in January 2022
  • Credit analyst (560%) and KYC compliance (193%) roles in fastest growth
  • Nationwide and NatWest experience rapid growth in R&C jobs

Banks are publishing record numbers of risk and compliance jobs in the UK following an unprecedented year of regulatory initiatives and a flurry of upcoming changes expected in 2022, a new report says.

According to research by global recruiters Morgan McKinley and data analysts Vacancysoft, banks sought 8,750 R&C specialists in 2021, representing a 98.9% year-on-year increase and up 67.3% on pre-pandemic levels. 

Jobs rose further in 2022 with banks publishing 850 R&C vacancies published in January, 87.6% more than the same month in 2019. Overall banking vacancies, meanwhile, hit an all-time monthly high of 2,990 new jobs — breaking the previous record, set in October 2021, by 3.1%. 

Ben Harris, Associate Director, Head of Governance, Compliance, IA and Risk Management, Morgan McKinley, said:

“The start of 2022 saw a dramatic improvement in risk, compliance and financial crime recruitment. Hiring for permanent risk and compliance professionals was busy at the end of 2021 and showed no signs of slowing down — to the backdrop of what people called “The Great Resignation” and the post-pandemic bounce-back predicted for financial services.

“With the easing of coronavirus measures banks, having made significant cuts to their staff, needed talent to join their teams again. The recruitment market is candidate-led, with job-seekers in 2022 being offered multiple options. In addition, the onset of bonus season will flood the market with talent that wasn’t previously looking, requiring institutions to move quickly on offering roles.”

Credit analyst and KYC compliance roles experience the fastest growth

Out of specialist roles within R&C, functions focusing solely on compliance have made up the bulk of all hiring since at least 2019, totalling nearly 1,800 jobs in 2021. This accounts for 29.1% of all R&C roles — and an uptick of 57.4% year-on-year.

The most notable surges in recruitment, however, were for KYC compliance and credit analysts, with hiring levels up 192.7% and 560% year-on-year, respectively. Vacancies for KYC specialists were the most resilient in 2020 — the first year of the pandemic — with numbers up 21.7% year-on-year while hiring for other R&C functions floundered.

Citi publishes most R&C jobs; Nationwide & NatWest with fastest growth in hiring

Citi finished 2021 as the dominant hirer of R&C specialists in the UK, publishing nearly 920 vacancies, a rise of 84.7% year-on-year and 470.2% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Jobs at Santander were up 185.8% year-on-year (82.3% up on 2019). JPMorgan, second in 2021, recorded nearly 500 new R&C jobs. 

Top 20 companies, professional R&C vacancies in banking, UK, 2019-2022*

# Company 2019 2020 2021 2022* YOY 21/20
1 Citi 161 497 918 72 84.7%
2 Santander 243 155 443 64 185.8%
3 Barclays 242 176 409 54 132.4%
4 NatWest Group 134 65 278 46 327.7%
5 JPMorgan Chase & Co 155 166 492 32 196.4%
6 Nationwide Building Society 180 46 326 30 608.7%

Vacancies at Nationwide saw the biggest year-on-year surge out of the top 20 banks, with R&C hiring levels up 608.7% year-on-year and 81.1% in relation to 2019. The smallest rise was at Deutsche Bank, where recruitment grew by only 12.8% year-on-year.

Ben continued: “There has been a general increase in salaries across risk disciplines as demand for specific skill sets increases, leading to average pay increases of 20-25%, and even higher in some cases. We have also noted some very aggressive counteroffers, as firms do all they can to hang onto key talent. We expect this trend to certainly continue well into the second half of 2022.”

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