Financial Services C-Suite Execs Need a ‘Reality Check’ on Compensation Today

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Tech pros at the largest investment banks and smaller boutique financial services firms alike are commanding much higher salaries than traditional benchmarking tools often indicate. Experts at Harris Allied offer insight into how financial services firms need to look at recruiting today’s top financial technology pros.

www.harrisallied.com

There may be a real disconnect between what financial services and tech firms think they should be paying their high tech employees and the reality. Traditional benchmarking tools may not include detailed enough data about particular skill sets or reflect what the marketplace is really paying, say experts at Harris Allied, a New York-based recruiting firm.

“Tech pros at the largest investment banks and smaller boutique financial services firms alike are commanding much higher salaries than these benchmarking tools often indicate,” said Kathy Harris, managing director at Harris Allied. “In fact, they might need to pay as much as 25 percent more for today’s top tech talent than they might expect. Today, it’s important to get a real-world perspective from a recruiter on what your competitors are paying.”

Harris offers additional insight into how financial services firms need to look at recruiting today’s top financial technology pros:

  •          A smaller window. Whereas a position might have taken six months or more to fill, companies need to move far more quickly when courting a candidate. Be nimble and willing to revise your internal hiring process. Today, the competitor next door is all too ready to offer that ideal candidate the job before you have all your ducks in a row. Benchmark searches at 30/60/90 day intervals and take a close look at the process to identify bottlenecks. When a search drags on for months, it’s frustrating for everyone – candidates, hiring managers, HR and external recruiting partners.
  •          Think of the personal touches. Relocation expenses and discussions about the long-term career opportunities available at the firm are other ways firms can make it clear to a prospective employee “You are an important individual to our organization. We will do what we can to help you acclimate and perform well here.” That also means knowing what the objections and obstacles are so you can manage through and address them.
  •          Cough up a signing bonus. Many companies today are guaranteeing sign-ons and/or a discretionary bonus even if the employee will not have been with the firm for a full year.
  •          Create a positioning statement that addresses the value of your benefits plan. Today, top candidates with in-demand skill sets have multiple opportunities, and many companies are stressing the dollar value of their benefits plan. Features like pension plans, 401(k) matching employer contributions and vacation time (PTO) can make or break an offer. Candidates should walk away from an interview with a clear picture of what makes your firm and the opportunity unique.
  •             Explain your equity participation program. Many firms offer equity in the form of Options and RSUs but the language is often bundled in with the benefits, leaving candidates to figure it out on their own. If you have special and unique benefits make sure they’re clear to candidates. Don’t miss an opportunity to stress a key part of your compensation plan.

Harris notes, “Some financial services firms, however, are bundling their bonuses into their base salaries to bump up the number. Job seekers typically find that very appealing because most people would rather be paid up front. But these kinds of packages are golden handcuffs, in essence, because the next firm cannot typically offer the same kind of base salary. In addition, firms that bundle their bonuses often have a ‘clawback provision,’ which means they can pull the bonus amount back if market conditions worsen or performance is not up to snuff.”

About Harris Allied

Harris Allied provides premier Executive Search, Technology and Quant Analyst placement services to the financial services and tech industries. The firm represents technology and quant professionals to clients who are at a variety of growth stages: from tech start-ups to established industry leaders including small buy-side firms and global investment banks. Harris Allied’s client-centric approach allows the firm to objectively assess the strengths of qualified candidates and thoughtfully match them with the right opportunities. For more information visit http://www.harrisallied.com. To view Harris Allied’s new corporate video, “For Each of Us, It Starts with a Moment,” visit http://www.youtube.com/harrisallied.

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Nina Dietrich
Percepture
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