On 20th April, we were delighted to attend the first ever Finance Awards Wales, described as a showcase of the best finance talent in Wales. And with over 400 attendees and 11 awards, what a showcase it was!
Of course, specialising in finance recruitment as we do, we’re already well aware that Wales has some fantastic finance professionals, and we’re privileged to know a number of them. But to be surrounded by so many at once really highlighted to us how far the Welsh finance industry has come in recent years and how much potential it has to compete globally. Just this week, Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, a Powys-based finance provider received top UK honours from an international foundation.
We were particularly pleased to see Hannah Heath, who recently featured in one of our Q&As with female leaders in Wales, pick up the Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director award. However, in our view all the finalists were successful for the very reason that they’ve all played a vital role in growing the economy here in Wales.
Matt Hyde, Managing Director of the Wales Finance Awards, put it nicely when he described them as “the trusted backbone of business in Wales.” Without them, it’s unlikely that Cardiff’s financial services sector would have seen successive years of rapid growth.
Already home to number of large companies offering excellent careers in finance, such as Lloyds Banking Group, MotoNovo Finance, Legal and General, Cardiff boasts Wales’ only FTSE 100 company Admiral – the company many would say skyrocketed Cardiff’s reputation for finance. And in spite of the continued uncertainty around Brexit, Cardiff is proving itself to be a resilient financial powerhouse and a great choice for organisations looking to expand too. In 2015, Deloitte set the trend by choosing Cardiff over other global locations to build its 700-strong delivery centre. In the next five years it’s planning to scale its workforce here to 1,500.
We’re already seeing the impact that the Central Square regeneration scheme and £1.28 billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal have had on industry, jobs and infrastructure, but there are some other exciting developments in the pipeline that are already making Cardiff a more appealing choice for both businesses and job seekers.
Take rail electrification, which will soon reduce the Cardiff-London journey to 1hr 45 mins, and the Crossrail project which will make it possible to get to Canary Wharf in just two hours! There’s also lots of talk about the scrapping of the Severn bridge fares attracting a much wider talent pool.
One of the factors that makes Cardiff so appealing to financial organisations is, ironically, financial. Office space in Cardiff is 50% cheaper than London – so it’s little surprise that Knight Frank found there was higher demand for it than ever in 2017: 38% above the ten-year average to be exact.
The financial and professional services industry already employs some 56,000 people in Wales, and as more businesses expand to Cardiff it’s inevitable that more opportunities will arise to accommodate skilled, senior financial professionals.
We also have three universities here that are extremely committed to improving graduate employability and building mutually-beneficial links with industry, so the pool of finance talent on offer in Wales is only likely to go one way.
The appeal isn’t all about work of course. Cardiff is also a great place to live and has frequently been ranked one of the top big cities for the quality of life it offers – not to mention its beautiful landscapes. This is often why financial professionals want to move back to Wales, but with Cardiff’s finance industry burgeoning they now have another motivation to do so!
As a recruitment agency which values trust above all else, we agree with Matt’s definition of finance professionals as the trusted backbone of business in Wales, and we look forward to leading more of them to the right roles in Welsh business over the coming years.
If you’re an accountancy, marketing, HR or business devlopment professional looking to develop your career in the fantastic financial hotspot that is Cardiff, or an organisation looking to recruit top talent here, please get in touch and find out how we can help.
The recruitment process was easy, and after our initial conversation with Ita she advised us on how to fine tune the job specification and tailor to to attract the right candidate for our needs. The delivery and recruitment service was swift and Ita kept us informed at every stage of the process.
The candidate we chose in the end was the right fit for our business. They have just passed their probationary period with flying colours and have fitted in like they have always worked for us.
Karen was committed throughout my interview process as well as afterwards. You can see that she strives for excellence and has the utmost integrity.
Thanks very much for making a potentially stressful activity completely non-stressful!
Ita took the time to ask about our business, our culture, the role and really understood what we were looking for. This resulted in a really straightforward recruitment process. All of the candidates put forward were of exceptional quality and I would definitely recommend Sitka to my colleagues and network.
Everything about Sitka’s approach is a breath of fresh air. I have worked with Sitka on both the candidate side and recruiter side and I have never had a better relationship with an agency. I trust them implicitly to provide a service that is above and beyond what you would expect a recruitment agency to do and I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.
I have always dealt with Karen and have found the recruitment process generally excellent. The calibre of candidates has always been strong and the candidates also show enthusiasm towards the job and company they are interviewing for. I am very happy with the service we receive from Sitka and we have always appointed from the first round of interviews.
The experience of working with Sitka has been fantastic. They provide an excellent service with a professional and friendly approach. Karen kept me informed every step of the way, even sending through interview technique tips.