On the whole, salaries and benefits have held steady over the past 12 months, partly due to the uncertainty in the external economic environment. But organisations in the natural resource and insurance sectors will pay above the market rate for strong candidates while media organisations may also offer a premium. Most other sectors pay similar rates. The exception is retail, which lags behind due to a lack of understanding of treasury’s role. In the retail sector, it is not unusual for treasurers who leave to be replaced by people without specialist skills. As a result, it is an unappealing destination for ambitious candidates looking to advance.
Treasury tends to have a cyclical recruitment cycle whereby group treasurers on longer notice periods look to move in the spring and be in place by the summer. Among the lower tiers, where churn is naturally higher and notice periods are shorter, there is more movement in autumn. Recently, there has been a growing trend for businesses to make internal promotions rather than external hires when a head of treasury departs. Deputy treasurers are often stepping up to the job, which makes the transition process less stressful for the business.
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In a climate where large pay rises can be hard to come by, candidates are very selective about the roles they want to pursue. They expect a potential new position to offer more than a change of scenery and look for exposure to new technical challenges and project–based work. Employers, on the other hand, take technical expertise as a given and seek candidates who have the right personality fit for their business and the ability to cope with its scale.
Regulation continues to weigh heavily on the financial services sector. The Basel III rules, which force banks to strengthen their capital requirements, are driving up the cost of corporate funding, presenting new challenges and opportunities for treasurers. Funding diversification is an important issue and when employers recruit for mid–tier strategic roles, they often seek candidates with specific experience of a bond issuance.
As financial institutions in the City make large–scale lay–offs, former bankers are increasingly looking to corporate treasury as a career option. It can be a difficult move to make, however, since the two markets are very different and so is the technical expertise required. Employers may be dubious of these candidates and still lean towards those who have direct experience of their sector and those who have worked in corporate treasury previously.
Technology is transforming the treasury function. As large organisations increasingly invest in treasury management systems, employers are demanding that candidates have demonstrable experience of working with these systems. Knowledge of SunGard, SAP Treasury and IT2 are the most requested.
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