Q&A for Clients with Mahian Rab - Risk, Regulation and Compliance

Pubished 1st November 2022

How long have you been working in recruitment and what is your specialism?

I’ve been working at InterQuest’s Risk, Regulation and Compliance Practice for 6 ½ years now.

I lead the Risk Practice’s London team, where we support a variety of large banks, challenger banks, lenders, payments businesses, fintechs and start-up/scale-up business across the UK, EU and US.

Personally, I predominately support clients with risk and analytics requirements. I work with our partners to develop and establish robust financial and non-financial risk teams, whilst also ensuring we identify exceptional talent to build first-class analytics and data science functions.

The mandates I directly support clients on range from Senior Manager up to Chief Risk or Chief Credit Officer within risk and up to Head of, Director, or VP within Data Science. With the team ensuring the delivery of mandates from Analyst to Manager level.

What would you say are the key challenges in the market now?

Over the past 18 -24 months we have seen a wave of new challenges.

Firstly, although it is starting to settle now, over the course of the last 18 months we have seen a drastic rise in salaries. The average has been a minimum 20% uplift (some a lot more!) in salaries when candidates are moving on. For context traditional uplift is around 10%.

Secondly, we are seeing a significant rise in counter offers. Unsurprisingly it is more of an issue with rising competition for talent. In respect to both trying to hire and retain staff it is costing clients a lot more time and money.

Thirdly, due to a sharp increase in activity within the employment market over the last 12-18 months, a lot of really strong candidates decided to initially move. These candidates have now settled resulting in a smaller pool of candidates who are either extremely passive to new opportunities.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges is the inflexibility of some business and hiring managers. Whether it’s skills, experience, working from home arrangements or the interview process. All of these factors can pose a significant challenge when hiring.

To ensure we are tackling these challenges, we consult and alert our clients early on. Having these valuable conversations normally reduces our delivery time by 2 weeks on average.

Are there any market trends you're seeing?

I didn’t think this would be possible but Financial Services have become even MORE data-driven. Data driven business are looking to utilise further data sources in new innovative ways, whilst old school traditional lenders are looking to catch up and bring their use of data up to speed.

Historically businesses brought in exceptionally talented people who could work with the data and build great models. However, there was a lack of understanding behind the complex models they would build, and how this impacted or influenced the business. The ability to understand and communicate the relationship between these models and commerciality, lending, or risk simply wasn't there.

The lines are faint within a risk and data science function. This is because it’s extremely important to find someone who can utilise the data to build cool, innovative models but then be able to explain it and the outputs from a commercial and business perspective. This is important because it will help form wider business strategy.

Another trend ties into the economy. Everyone in the UK is nervous about what the next 1-3 years holds.

Collections functions are front of mind for everyone at the moment. As it has historically been more of an operational/manual function, a majority of businesses are transitioning it over to become significantly more data driven.

For a lot of lenders, the question seems to be - How do we utilise data more to implement innovative and effective strategies to ensure we minimise losses and help customers who are struggling?

Over the past 12-18 months, I've noticed a significant rise in demand for candidates who are skilled in big data, commercially astute and also having a good credit/risk understanding.

What advice would you give to clients given the competition in the market space?

Firstly, work with a good recruiter 😊. Whoever the recruiter is, they should be able to provide you valuable market insight and save you time and money.

Secondly, before you start looking for talent, really think about what you need and where you can be flexible. If you look at what your requirements were on day one of a search to completion, there has probably been a fair bit of change.

My philosophy is having constant communication to ensure the end goal remains aligned.

When looking at process, pace is important. You've got to move quickly. If it takes two weeks to get an interview booked in, you're already too late. This isn’t to rush you, it's so you don't lose out to your competitors if they have a leaner process in place.

So how can you be fluid? As you get CVs, book in interviews and actively provide feedback.

Finally, sell the business and the role! The market is so competitive, you really need to think about why someone should join. The name of the business is not enough, it's about what you're doing and what you're offering that needs to be a differentiator.

Candidates will also want to know what the role and business looks like in 12 months to 24 months.

Tips for interviews?

Pretty simple. Make sure you sell the role and the business to the candidate, make sure you move quickly if you like a candidate and finally ensure you provide detailed feedback.

Get in touch:

If you are interested in discussing your career options or would like to discuss how we can help you find great talent please get in touch with Mahian: