dusted / 01 February
January Newsletter – 2022 Outlook
2021 was an unsurprisingly busy year for recruitment. We saw a huge bounce back in vacancies from the previous year and we also saw companies reacting and adapting to new hybrid working models, with this playing a larger role than usual in candidates’ decisions to move. Last year also brought about a number of different recruitment trends in the asset management industry. The continued rise of ESG and the growth of private assets played a huge role in firms’ recruitment drives. In this newsletter will look forward into 2022 and discuss the areas we expect to be busy in the coming year within Distribution, Investment and Product.
In the last 6 months of 2021 we experienced an extremely busy recruitment market in the Distribution space. This is set to continue for 2022 and from our conversations with investment management clients, there are key expertise that will be in high demand.
In marketing, firms are looking to upskill with more investment into hiring technical product and content marketing candidates on both the institutional and wholesale side. Mid to senior level candidates with strong product knowledge, particularly fixed income, are highly sought after. We will continue to see an increased demand for candidates with technical skills to improve digital marketing platforms and user experience.
We anticipate further new headcount for sales and marketing professionals with alternatives market experience, as firms are building out their private markets and alternatives offering in line with client appetite. The trend of new ESG specialist positions such as Sustainability Communications Manager and ESG Product Specialist will be a key theme for 2022. There is huge interest in the market for these positions, however a shortage of candidates with actual hands-on experience, which firms require to elevate their presence in the sustainability space.
RFP teams were very stretched over the past 12 months due to increased requests from clients in line with specific ESG, diversity and new regulatory related queries. Many firms have increased their headcount for 2022 to support this.
There is a shortage of active candidates looking for these in demand skill-sets, so we anticipate another competitive market for 2022.
There has been a similarly busy recruitment period within the Investment arena. There are three areas we expect to be especially busy in 2022. Firstly, we fully expect recruitment in ESG to continue to grow given the ever-increasing demand from investors. With ESG assets set to exceed $53tn by 2025 (Bloomberg Intelligence), we will continue to see the demand for sustainability/ESG professionals. The sustainable investment funds universe has seen exponential growth in 2021 as asset managers continue to tap into the rising demand amongst investors for these products. As a result, there will be continued demand for equity analysts joining these dedicated sustainability-focused equity funds.
We also expect to see a demand for ESG fixed income professionals as the ESG bond market continues to grow. In addition to this, we anticipate increasing number of ESG engagement opportunities as many asset managers look to evolve and enhance active engagement with investee companies on ESG issues. ESG data specialist roles could also be in demand as many asset managers will continue to bolster their data and analytics capabilities on ESG/sustainability topics and integrate these into the research process.
The private markets space is another area we predict to remain busy in 2022. Last year has shown that traditional institutional asset managers have expanded their private asset capabilities driven by the increased allocation to these asset classes in order to diversify portfolio and generate higher returns for investors. Growth in private assets will continue to soar as analysis from PwC predicts that assets under management in private markets will expand by between $4.2tn and $5.5tn in the years up to 2024. As a result, we predict hiring amongst private equity, private debt, property and infrastructure investment professional to be particularly strong over the next 12 months.
Hiring ESG professionals to focus on private assets is inevitable in the coming years as both asset managers and investors pay more attention to ESG in real assets.
Finally, we expect hiring to remain strong in Quantitative Analysts/Data Scientist roles as asset managers and hedge funds continue to use machine learning to assist the active investment decision making process. Candidates with skillsets in machine learning and expertise in Python will continue to be highly sought after. Due to a shortage of suitable candidates on the buy-side, asset managers will continue to source talent from other industries – most commonly from Investment Banking, FinTech and Software companies.
2021 was a busy year in the Product space. The rise in alternatives Product roles which we saw in 2020 continued in 2021, with more institutional asset managers demanding candidates with experience in product development for alternative asset classes. Whilst alternatives product roles were initially popular amongst the bigger global investment managers, we have recently seen that more smaller firms are also looking for the same skillset. We expect the trend to continue throughout 2022, as more buy-side houses move away from traditional equities and into the alternatives space.
Product Governance is likely to be a hot topic throughout 2022. The ever-changing regulatory landscape has meant a rise in the demand for tighter governance when launching and developing funds. Candidates with a working knowledge of SFDR and taxonomy are those most sought-after. We are also seeing candidates with in-house legal backgrounds moving closer into Product Governance roles; their clarity in communication coupled with their abilities to draft documentation makes in-house lawyers ideal candidates for senior Product Governance roles.
Market Intelligence roles will be another popular position within Product functions this year. Asset management houses have a bigger thirst for data than ever before. As such, the demand for candidates who can easily analyse large volumes of market and competitor data is on the up. Candidates with working proficiencies in Morningstar or Broadridge are those most in demand for MI related positions. These roles also provide an excellent opportunity for candidates working at data providers looking to move in-house.
2021 also saw a comeback for day rate contract roles within Product. The pandemic combined with the changes to IR35 meant that nearly all day-rate contract positions came to a standstill. Encouragingly, we saw a shift back to day rate roles from the summer, with many firms acknowledging that paying day rates is the only way to attract top calibre senior talent within short timeframes. This trend has continued throughout the year, and we see no signs of day rate roles going away as we move into 2022.
To conclude, the busy nature of the 2021 recruitment market looks set to continue in to 2022. Firms are likely to continue to step up their recruitment efforts in a bid to stabilise and grow on the back of a buoyant economic market. Within Distribution, Investment and Product functions we are predicting certain areas to be especially busy, including, but not limited to, ESG, RFP, Private Markets, Data Science, Product Governance and Market Intelligence.