Contracting in the Financial Services Industry

19th October 2016

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The financial service industry is a huge part of the UK economy, employing tens of thousands of professionals across banks, insurance companies, investment funds, hedge funds and pension providers.

As an individual with experience, knowledge and skills in financial services, you can find variety, freedom, and even secure higher paying work by branching out into contracting. Whether you get your break through agencies, head-hunters, or through people you already know in the industry, the switch to contracting can provide you more flexibility and control, and potentially earn more per day than you would if you were a full-time member of staff.

Since the financial crisis hit in 2008, banks and financial services firms have become much more concerned about staffing costs, and the increasingly tight regulatory climate means they need to keep their workforce as flexible as possible. Demand for contractors in the sector has never been higher – around 10% of those working in financial services are hired on a contract basis. The recent Brexit event will only push this trend further as companies stall permanent hiring.

Finding work as a financial contractor

When you make the switch to become a financial contractor, you need to get your name and credentials in front of as many potential clients as possible. Every one of your former business contacts should know that you are now an independent contractor for hire.

Don’t underestimate the power of a quick LinkedIn message or email catch-up with old friends and colleagues either. In addition to traditional recruitment agencies and your personal network, there are a few independent consultancy houses out there who manages projects on behalf of large financial institutions, getting yourself onto their book is another good alternative.

The suitable areas for contracting in Financial Services Industry

The majority of contract works are in mid to back office functions including risk management, change management, legal and compliance, as well as operations. Before you quit your perm position and jump into contracting, make sure you have the skil-lsets that is in demand as a contractor. If you are a front office trader or corporate finance relationship manager, it might be difficult to get a contract position in the same area due to the strict confidentiality in these areas. Ask yourself, are you wiling to move to a different area where contracting is a more common practice? Is your skill-sets flexible enough to move? If not, you might want to consider gaining some experience first before branching out.

Reputation is everything when it comes to contracting, so make sure you get to know senior people in your industry, and ensure your colleagues will speak highly of you before you branch out on your own.

A strong network of supporters, particularly those who hold strong influence and can make hiring decisions, will make you more likely to succeed as a contractor in this industry.

iContract is another good channel to build up your network and connect with recruiters. Pre-register now if you have not already. We are looking forward to seeing you on our platform.