Compliance & Risk Market Update Q1, 2019

January 8

The Compliance & Risk markets in Ireland continued to be extremely busy across all levels in 2018. Within the compliance profession, we saw a particular demand throughout the year for professionals with experience in financial crime, conduct of business, compliance monitoring, AIFMD and data protection. The reason for the buoyancy in the market is Brexit-related contingency planning from a regulatory perspective, which has been front and centre.

The contract market has also proved to be very buoyant, with many firms appointing temporary resources for particular projects, which were primarily related to Brexit. New entrants to the market have added an additional dynamic that has placed further pressure on demand in an already challenging market from a resourcing perspective. The same
can be said for the risk-management profession. Throughout 2018, many firms began the process of relocating both functions and roles from London to Dublin. This created a demand in areas that would not traditionally have been prevalent in the Irish market, such as market and conduct risk. Experience in operational and enterprise risk also continued to be in high demand. It was clear to see that many larger firms continued to recruit specialists throughout 2018, whilst smaller firms sought to recruit generalist second-line practitioners. Furthermore, we saw an increase in the number of compliance and risk professionals who moved into first-line roles in order to further improve the lines of communication across the three lines of defence.


Whilst the demand for compliance and risk professionals continued to grow throughout 2018, the supply of suitably qualified candidates continued to decline. Salaries across both disciplines thus continued to rise as demand continued to outstrip the supply of suitably qualified and experienced candidates. Candidates are becoming increasingly aware of their market worth, especially those with skills that are in short supply. Counter-offers and candidates receiving multiple offers continued to be a common theme throughout 2018, which put further upward pressure on salaries. We expect this trend to continue into 2019 as many candidates now seek a larger percentage increase on their current base salaries.

Area shortages

Due to the growth in demand for both compliance and risk professionals, financial services firms are continuing to look, in particular, at candidates from different sectors to hold certain roles. Qualified accountants and auditors, for example, remained in significant demand within the compliance functions to hold specific monitoring roles. Financial crime, GDPR and conduct risk were the hot topics throughout 2018 with demand for suitably experienced candidates soaring. Given the shortage in supply, many firms have had to assess skill sets that might be transferrable into these roles, with IT professionals and lawyers being considered for data protection-related compliance roles. Given the shortage in supply in certain areas of the compliance and risk professions, we have seen firms with strong and robust recruitment processes and fast decision making be far more successful in securing the best talent available on the market.

The Year Ahead

The uncertainty about whether we will have a hard or a soft Brexit has no doubt created uncertainty in the market. However, we do expect to see demand for compliance and risk professionals soar throughout 2019. Furthermore, the likes of MLD4 and CP86 will have an impact on recruitment trends across the financial services sector in 2019, and we will see the full impact of this. As in 2018, we anticipate that firms who are more flexible in their recruitment processes will be in a strong position to secure the best talent. It is clear that we are in a candidate-driven market, with candidates having multiple options open to them. As a result, those firms who have drawn out their recruitment processes may well find it difficult to secure their first- or second-choice candidates once the interview process starts. In previous years, it has traditionally been difficult for candidates to move from one sector of the financial services industry to another. For example, compliance professionals with strong fund-administration experience could find it difficult to move to another sector, such as investment management. This is not necessarily the case now, and certainly won’t be in 2019. Should the market remain on its current trajectory, we may see firms considering those candidates with wider governance experience from different sectors of the financial services industry when they are hiring for compliance and risk positions.

Find out more about our compliance and risk recruitment division here and see all our live compliance and risk jobs here. 

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About the Author

Donal Whelan

Donal Whelan

Head of Risk & Compliance 1 661 0444

Donal is a recruitment professional with over 6 years experience across the Compliance, Risk and Finance markets. Donal currently manages the Compliance and Risk disciplines at Lincoln Recruitment Specialists. He has an in-depth understanding of the compliance and risk recruitment market with a strong network of contacts. He has successfully worked with many national and multi-national companies in Ireland, who were either establishing new compliance and risk departments or expanding their in-house teams.


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