An image of Aisha Barnes, introducing the topic of why Financial Services use specialist recruiters.

5 Reasons Why Financial Services Use Specialist Recruiters

Candidates outside of the financial services sector often fall short.  What can be done to ensure you employ high performers? In this article Aisha Barnes explores the root cause of these issues and how to solve them.


As an HR Recruiter, I specialise in working with companies in the Financial & Professional Services sector and there are a few common themes. Often the Talent pool is not as active, with many looking for a route into Financial Services, rather than already having experience in this field.

When companies expand their search, considering candidates from other sectors, they often find that the capability gaps or lack of knowledge of the nuances of Financial Services, means that they either don’t perform in the role or take significant time and resources to reach the required standards.

1) Compliance & Risk Management

Compliance is the backbone of HR in the Financial & Professional Services sector, where companies are operating in a highly regulated environment enforced by government bodies and organisations such as the FCA. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, legal proceedings, and in some cases lead to Reputational damage.

It’s business critical to recruit so having an HR team that can operate effectively within these regulations is the key to success.

FCA-regulated Financial Services firms implement rigorous HR policies to comply with strict regulations on recruitment, training, and conduct.

This includes thorough employee screening, comprehensive compliance training, and zero-tolerance for misconduct, with disciplinary procedures aligned to regulatory standards. Non-FCA regulated companies have more flexibility, focusing on industry-specific needs, with less stringent HR requirements and regulatory oversight.

Fostering a culture-appropriate conduct and behaviour can start with your HR team so hiring the right behaviours within your HR function will ultimately impact company culture and behaviour standards within your organisation.

Each organisation has its own focus. For example, Manufacturing prioritises workplace safety and regulatory adherence in a production-intensive environment, Retail focuses on labour laws and customer interactions. Your HR team needs to be competent to create and design risk management frameworks that are tailored to the Financial Services sector which often means that companies need to hire for those specific capabilities.

2) Talent Acquisition

It’s not just your HR team that needs relevant capabilities and knowledge to be most effective within Financial Services but also your Centres of Excellence, one of which being Talent Acquisition.

In the Financial & Professional Services sector, your Talent Acquisition team should strategically hire exceptional talent who have a blend of technical expertise, financial acumen, and cultural fit.

Your TAs will attract top-tier talent, capable of navigating complex regulatory landscapes and driving innovation in a competitive market, you need competent and astute TA professionals, who know what exceptional talent looks like.

In industries such as Health & Social care, compassion and empathy are core behavioural pillars and qualities to look for during the hiring process.

3) Training and Development

In a competitive market, Learning & Development is a necessity to continuously keep up with technological advancements and market dynamics that are always evolving. Learning on the job and through experience is one thing, but having a technically capable Learning & Development team to deliver comprehensive training programs compliance certifications, and leadership development initiatives is essential, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

This has been a busy area for the clients that I work with in recent months, as L&D professionals with the right capabilities has been challenging to source through direct processes.

In other industries such as Retail & Hospitality, there is likely to be an emphasis on Customer Service and cultural awareness training that may not be as relevant.

4) Performance Management and Rewards

Performance management in the Financial & Professional Services sector revolves around objective metrics and transparent feedback mechanisms. HR implements performance-based reward systems, including bonuses and opportunities for career advancement, to drive employee productivity and engagement. Recognition is tied to measurable outcomes and contributions which are key indicators of success.

Conversely, industries like non-profit and entertainment adopt more nuanced approaches to performance management and rewards. In non-profits, recognition extends beyond financial incentives to highlight employees’ contributions to the organisation’s mission and impact.

 5) Organisational Culture and Diversity

Organisational culture in the Financial & Professional Services sector reflects a blend of excellence, collaboration, and diversity.

Your HR team must reflect the behaviours and values that you want emulated across the business, so it is crucial to get these hires right. (That’s where we come in).

Company culture can vary across industries with startups prioritising a dynamic and entrepreneurial culture that encourages risk-taking and creativity, whereas government agencies promote a culture of public service and accountability, emphasising ethical conduct and transparency.

These 5 key areas demonstrate the nuances of the Financial Services sector and the importance of being strategic in hiring the right HR team to drive success.

Often those individuals are not active in the market or privy to Talent Attraction strategies however would be in contact with Specialist Consultants such as myself in order to keep an eye on the market and great opportunities.


If you’re seeking the best talent for your HR team and want to have an exploratory discussion with me please get in touch.

07747 272 285 | aisha.barnes@hrheads.co.uk

Alternatively book a meeting with me: https://calendly.com/aisha_barnes/30min