Contracting Umbrella Company employees and other independent professionals specialising in financial services have been enjoying a contract bonanza, with regulatory change and new business requirements driving a significant shift in hiring patterns within the sector.

So says a new survey of 6,000 UK financial services contractors from leading global recruitment firm Hydrogen Group. In preference to exclusively hiring permanent employees, financial services organisations are increasingly benefiting from the flexibility and value offered by contractors. A background of economic uncertainty and the need for rapid responses to regulatory change and business transformation lie behind the trend, the survey finds.

Almost one-third of the contractors polled were working in one of the top four retail banks; however, investment banks have recently seen a significant resurgence in contract hiring, with the result that competition for talent has intensified. Investment banks are now the second most popular choice of workplace for contractors after retail banks.

The completion for talent does not stop there, as up-and-coming retail challenger banks are increasingly being seen as an alternative to the top four in the wake of the financial crisis. Currently in third place, challenger banks are now in close pursuit of the top slots in the popularity stakes amongst contractors. These banks include TSB, Virgin Money and Aldermore.

Hydrogen Group’s head of financial services, Jon Wilson, said: “The last five years have seen an enormous amount of change within the financial services sector. As a response to these changes and the uncertainty created, our survey has highlighted a shift in the way people are being employed and a shift in the sector’s competitive landscape.”

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