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.
Sitka was the only recruitment agency I encountered during my job hunt that I didn’t find completely overbearing. Their integrity was clear throughout the process and not once did I feel pressured by their agents.
I felt very confident that Sitka would find the right person for our business. They took on board how important our company values were to us. A good range of candidates were provided and they all met the brief. The final choice came down to chemistry.
Sitka wanted to know about the organisation, our culture, our plans and aspirations. This meant they could be really confident talking about us and I’d like to think they were proud to be working on our behalf.
The best thing about the experience, was the total confidence I was given at every stage that the recruitment was being professionally managed. The level of service received was exceptional.
Throughout the process, they kept us informed and the whole process felt like a true partnership. Each candidate came to the interview with a great understanding of our business and had prepared thoroughly, particularly at the second stage interviews.
Sometimes in recruitment it is a case of being able to look behind the written CV and Karen was able to pull out experience that I had overlooked so that we were able to recruit the right person for us.