2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half highlights hotspots for UK financial services industry skills

See where the highest salary increases are expected for financial services roles across the UK, according to the Robert Half Financial Services 2014 Salary Guide.

  • 99% of firms surveyed say that it is challenging to find skilled financial services professionals today
  • Survey shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of FS executives say the finance function is taking the lead on managing regulatory change
  • Highest salary increase is for Head of Operational Risk at 8.9%
  • War for talent is driving an imbalance among tenured staff leading to retention fears

London, 13 January 2014 – The current war for talent within UK financial services (FS) firms has pushed up salaries for top-tier professionals, with companies paying a premium to secure the best the market has on offer, according to the Robert Half Financial Services 2014 Salary Guide.  This ‘war’ has created an imbalance among tenured staff whose remuneration has not kept pace, leading to retention fears. 

The new report highlights that changes to the way the industry remunerates will have a profound effect on a firm’s ability to not only keep existing staff and retain top talent, but also its ability to compete with other global financial centres.  

In fact, nearly all (99%) firms surveyed say that it is challenging to find skilled financial services professionals today.  More than nine in 10 (95%) C-suite executives are concerned about losing top performers - a 28 percentage point increase on last year.  Ninety-three per cent are also alarmed about losing staff affected by the European Union bonus cap to international opportunities.

  • The impact of financial regulation

The regulatory agenda remains firmly entrenched in UK executives’ daily routines with survey respondents indicating that anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, disclosure or reporting requirements and privacy requirements the three areas of regulation posing the greatest impact.  Looking at ownership, nearly a quarter (24%) say the finance function is taking the lead on managing regulatory change, compared with nearly a fifth (19%) passing that responsibility to the risk department and 17% to compliance. Companies recognise that the regulatory burden will continue to unfold.  More than nine in 10 (94%) executives say that the management of regulatory reform is a challenge for their businesses – 14% more than last year. More than six in 10 (61%) expect the financial workload resulting from regulatory change to increase, resulting in additional recruitment for permanent and interim regulatory professionals. With demand for skilled regulatory accountants outweighing supply, salaries are set to rise in 2014.

2014 regulatory accounting salaries


2014 salary range

% rise over 2013

Regulatory Accounting Manager

£79,500 - £105,000


Regulatory Accountant (4-7 years PQE)

£66,250 - £88,500


Regulatory Accountant (NQ – 3 years PQE)

£50,250 - £79,500


Regulatory Accounting Assistant

£36,000 - £49,250



  • Risk and compliance

With new and ever more complex regulations, companies face increasing burden on the need to enhance risk and compliance practices. Once seen as a second line of defence, the role of risk and compliance professionals has been challenged and is now firmly planted at the forefront. Financial services businesses are supplementing their core, permanent teams with project professionals, with one in four (23%) planning to hire interim staff to manage compliance initiatives. AML subject matter experts, financial crime specialists, compliance auditors and enterprise risk consultants are in demand.

Risk and compliance salaries – highest increases 


2014 salary range

% rise over 2013

Head of Operational Risk

£88,500 - £168,750


Operational Risk Manager

£55,500 - £92,500


Head of Compliance

£87,250 - £202,500+


Risk Manager

£60,750 - £105,250



Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “It’s been a period of seismic change for the financial services industry. Firms have had to re-evaluate their business models, bolster capital and find new areas for growth, all under the watchful eye of both the regulators and the public-at-large.

“This evolution creates opportunities for firms to change public opinion while also pursuing growth and for talented financial services professionals to make a valued contribution. Regulatory demands continue to evolve, increasing workloads and forcing firms to balance compliance with the pursuit of growth strategies.”

  • Financial technology

Trends in financial services IT have been consistent over the last two years and are expected to continue. Data analytics and mining, information security, regulation, cloud and infrastructure renewal and digital and mobile initiatives are all important factors. Remuneration has been mixed – while most IT support professionals will receive little or no salary increases, others in more specialist roles, such as data analysts, developers and IT security specialists will see more moderate gains.

Technology salaries – key areas in demand


2014 salary range

% rise over 2013

Database/Business Intelligence Developer

£47,750 - £72,250


Information Risk Manager

£72,250 - £89,250


Security Network Engineer

£56,750 - £73,500


Network Architect

£79,000 - £103,000


Data Analyst

£41,000 - £56,250



Phil Sheridan continues, “Financial services businesses are realising that demand for the most highly skilled talent is outweighing supply, particularly within niche specialisms. Firms looking to attract the market’s most sought-after professionals know that financial remuneration is only one factor affecting candidates’ decisions. As employees aim to balance work and life commitments, offering a comprehensive benefits package – often flexible and tailored to each employee’s preferences – is helping companies position themselves as great places to work.”



About the Robert Half Financial Services 2014 Salary Guide

Since 1950, Robert Half has produced Salary Guides to offer business owners, hiring managers and professionals information on prevailing starting salaries in their geographic areas and insight into the latest employment trends. Companies consult the annual guides to determine appropriate remuneration for accounting and finance, financial services, technology and administrative professionals at all levels.

Information in the salary guides is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by Robert Half's recruitment consultants, along with the company's ongoing surveys of executives. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors -- such as seniority, work ethic, job performance and training -- impact the salaries of permanent professionals as work histories develop.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.