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Post-Brexit, big banks can't rely on reputation alone to recruit the best

Post-Brexit, big banks can't rely on reputation alone to recruit the best

We recently blogged about the short and long-term impacts of Brexit on the financial services sector. 

In a nutshell, we said much of what will happen in the future is left to chance – the fortunes of the financial services sector, like most others, will depend on whatever deal Theresa May's government can secure.

In the meantime, we’re likely to see more right-sizing programs and a greater emphasis on risk management. At least until they know which version of Brexit we’re likely to see – Brexit Light? The Norwegian model? It’s impossible to tell. Especially when our current Prime Minister opposed separation from the EU in the first place. 

So how exactly will organisations cope in the long-term? Well basically, they’ll have to adapt – and fast.

Take the Tier 1 banks and how they currently recruit. They're not opening up big graduate programs anymore. They're continuing the routine of just looking to Oxbridge – and failing that, the Russell Group universities. 

But academic achievement is only part of the story. You can’t just have, for want of a better word, a geek who excels in academics. You need communicative skills, too. You need someone with the right mindset. It’s not enough to simply cherry pick from the most prestigious universities. 

Finding the right talent is no longer as simple a task as it once was in financial services. And the impact of Brexit is only going to magnify that fact. 

This uncertain economy is going to produce a talent pool that's increasingly about quantity rather than quality. Mining for the right talent will become a much bigger challenge. 

Before the 2008 financial crisis, it was par for the course to just offer a big wage. Since then, things have changed.

If you want to attract the best people to your business, you can’t just throw money at them anymore. There’s two things talent are increasingly demanding from organisations: a work-life balance, and a strong set of values.

Candidates want to know they won’t be working unreasonable hours – after all, what’s the point in earning money if you’ve got no time to spend it? They also want to hear their company communicate, and see them operate according to, a set of strong beliefs – they want to feel part of somewhere that’s trying to make a real difference. Not just somewhere they clock in and out of.

Big organisations meanwhile will rely on prestige more than anything else to attract the top candidates. As they always have done, they expect the talent to come to them. The fact is, in this climate, they need to revise that way of thinking. 

To navigate this new world of work, old habits like that will have to disappear as quickly as Boris did from the leadership race. But unlike Boris, they can’t just return two weeks later – they’ll have to be gone for good.

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