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Sector Insight - Treasury

May 2014

The outlook for treasury is bright in 2014. FTSE companies and the Big 4 professional services firms are actively hiring throughout the country and salaries are rising.

The treasury recruitment market is continuing to gain momentum after a busy start to the year when a number of group treasurers switched roles. While there has been less activity at the senior level during the spring than over the Christmas period, many organisations are hiring into middle-management treasury positions such as treasury manager and dealer. The very largest companies – those in the FTSE 60 – are most actively recruiting – and employers come from a range of industry sectors including energy, oil and gas, and technology.

In response to the positive economic outlook, the Big 4 professional services firms are strengthening their treasury advisory practices. In particular, they are recruiting treasurers from industry who have between two and four years’ experience in a multinational treasury as well as strong academics. Sometimes they will even consider a candidate with just a year’s experience if that individual has outstanding potential.

Most of the churn in the treasury market is down to natural progression – treasurers moving on in their careers – and needing to be replaced. New roles are also being created and some smaller companies – which do not necessarily need a full-blown treasury function – are bringing in senior treasurers on an interim basis to help them to establish their banking arrangements and treasury policies. The introduction of derivative-reporting obligations under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation has added to the burden on treasuries this year, leading to demand for more staff.

While London is traditionally the busiest centre for treasury hiring, jobs are coming up across the UK and there is also considerable activity in Liverpool, Manchester and the Thames Valley, in particular. Employers are looking for proactive treasury professionals who can challenge established practices, make improvements and generate their own workload. Therefore, treasurers who are looking to move roles should be aware that employers are likely to rate their personal skills nearly as highly as their technical skills. Strong academics are strongly prized – employers look for professionals who have degrees in quantitative subjects such as maths, economics and engineering as well as a treasury or accounting qualification.

Most treasury positions are permanent, although there is a steady stream of roles coming up to cover maternity leave and to support projects focused on the implementation of treasury management systems.

Salaries are rising and treasurers who move jobs are typically able to secure pay increases in the region of 2-3%. While they are looking for better packages, treasury professionals also want to know about the development options open to them if they switch to a new employer. Multiple offers and counter offers are becoming more common so it is important that hiring managers are decisive about making offers if they want to secure the best candidates. The longer they leave it, the more likely they are to lose out on a candidate to a competitor – or to that candidate’s current employer.

Looking ahead, the outlook for treasury is bright in 2014. As businesses feel increasingly positive about the strength of the recovery, they are becoming more confident about hiring into their treasury functions. But they also need to focus on retaining their best staff to prevent them being poached by competitors. We may see increased demand for treasurers with skills in M&A and initial public offerings as the year progresses.