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What next?

This post is prompted by the number of conversations I have had recently with candidates facing the prospect of redundancy in Banking and FS. You might think, well that is nothing new but for the first time post global economic melt-down, many candidates in the sector are being presented with a significant number of opportunities.

As banks continue to wind-down their debt management operations, the overwhelming sense with candidates initially is that they may struggle to find their next role. I am not 100% sure why this is but two factors come to mind; internal morale and outplacement services managing staff expectations as best as possible. What I am witnessing day-to-day, is not the exact opposite, but there is a trend towards an increase in roles in the space. The difference being that the roles are not with banks but with service providers. So the roles exist but in a slightly different context.

I have spoken at length with senior management within one of the Irish pillar banks regarding their legacy debt wind-down. There is a definite sense that over the past 5 years, the banks have developed a top level competence in this space that manages to engage their debtors effectively while giving their staff development and progression opportunities where possible. The Irish banks have produced a large number of a new type of banker who are extremely aware of all things legal and regulatory, which can only be a positive. Unfortunately as this balance sheet reduction exercise enters its final furlong for the banks, the one thing that has been key (staff) is considering an exit for one reason or another. It is almost a shame that all of the time and money spent in developing this competency will now deliver for an asset manager/servicer rather than for the bank that built it. However, I am not sure the tax payer would agree and the consensus view is that it is time to move on.

Many candidates I have spoken with of late cut their teeth in lending and business development and ultimately found themselves in a recovery or debt management role by default (pun intentional). Of course there is now an appetite to move back to a new business role seeing as the world is returning to normality. The reality is that the roles in new business are limited and is a trend likely to continue as banks move rapidly into the digital age. It often makes sense to continue within the debt space and those who have maintain¬†their career on this path are often surprised with the difference working on a portfolio to maximise profit rather than minimise loss can really make. It truly makes sense to keep an open mind as the organisation can make all the difference for the next move. As Peter Drucker famously said many years ago, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’.

My advice to candidates facing into a job search as a result of redundancy or a general desire to move on is, keep an open mind and explore roles at face value. Speak to colleagues and your network about what they are seeing and you will find a good role. The job search can take time and it can be frustrating but treating it like a full time job in itself will reap rewards.

I welcome any comments on the above or feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss any of the points.

Thanks for reading.

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