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Compliance and Technology: How 2020’s Challenges Impact 2021’s Hiring

Posted on December 2020 By Andrew Hastings

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With the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, many businesses were faced with challenges they have never encountered before. Many companies in the US experienced significant layoffs, organizational restructuring, hiring freezes, and some were even unfortunately forced to shut down. With the pandemic having such a major impact on the market throughout 2020, we have seen financial institutions, both large and small, reduce their workforce from anywhere between 2%-50%.

However, despite there being a large number of layoffs, the effects of the pandemic have not put a complete freeze on hiring. There are certain areas of each business that have become essential to its growth and survival. Fortunately, compliance has not been an area that has been hit significantly and we have not seen much of a slowdown in the financial industry when it comes to hiring. Although some companies may not have had the budget to hire compliance professionals, others have been prioritizing their vital hires, with compliance falling into that category for many of our clients.

Hiring in the Virtual Environment

After overcoming the first hurdle of hiring in the compliance space in the virtual environment, companies must then face their next challenge of virtual onboarding and remote work. We have seen clients become hesitant on going through a hiring process virtually, bringing on somebody new just to have them start remote, and facing the struggle of not being able to train new employees face-to-face. While those can all be valid reasons to hold off on hiring, it is crucial to continue hiring for the important roles that will contribute to the growth and success of a company. Virtual onboarding can be done so easily, and we have seen the success of it with many our clients over the past 10 months.

When it comes to remote work, many businesses have adapted extremely well to the change in their work environment and remote work is looking to become the new norm for many companies in the future. Whether positions are being transitioned to fully remote or employees are being given more flexibility to work from home on a weekly basis, change is certainly in the future. Many companies have seen proven success while their employees have been working from home. With companies coming up on almost one full year of having a work from home mandate in place, things such as hiring and reorganizations should start to shift back to how they were pre-Covid. Many companies have now adapted to a full virtual interview and onboarding process, and for the ones that have not yet gotten the hang of things will soon realize the importance of the continuation of hiring during this time.

Compliance Talent Trends

The current hiring trends within the Compliance space seem to have been following a slow, steady recruitment process. Although this does differ from company to company, based on conversations from candidates, they expect bonuses to be impacted more severely at the junior level and for any upticks to come into play based on specific business lines or teams that have outperformed during the lockdown. Although some companies may be strapped for cash and cannot afford higher pay rates to stay competitive, there are certain benefits that can attract talent such as remote work flexibility in 2021 and beyond. For example, an increase in vacation time or tokens of appreciation in the forms of extended holidays have been seen this year with a very positive effect on employee morale. Candidates have shown that they are more willing to shift to roles at companies that prove employee wellbeing is a top priority.

Regulatory Trends

For Compliance specifically, 2021 will be an interesting year from a regulatory perspective. Regulators still expect institutions’ reports to be accurate, complete, traceable, auditable, and delivered on time. Due to Covid-19, regulators have given firms a grace period to submit reports, including quarterly reports, and that grace period is coming to an end as things begin their shift back to a new version of normal. Regulators have done their best to maintain the status quo during these times, but many compliance professionals expect an increase in their activity next year.

We have also seen some human error factor into several headline-grabbing compliance issues this year. As remote work and automation continue to rise, we expect the need for updated technology, privacy, and surveillance policies and software. Several smaller institutions are adopting cloud based regulatory reporting and more hybrid compliance and technology roles are popping up in the market as the two become more intertwined.

The compliance world, and finance as a whole, faced a daunting test this year of shifting operations to a remote model and putting their business continuity and technological capabilities through its paces. Hopefully, this will allow for more flexibility in work-life balance as we move into 2021. It will also shift the hiring landscape for compliance as companies examine costs, risks, and the evolution of technology within their compliance programs.

If you would like to connect with the Selby Jennings team and discuss the market changes, your team’s hiring needs, or to connect for the future, please get in touch today.