Watson Gardner Brown

October 27, 2009 08:00 ET

Financial Services Sector in Canada Facing Skills Shortage According to Watson Gardner Brown Survey

Businesses concerned about finding senior professionals in highly specialized areas to support business

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 27, 2009) -

Attention Business Editors

A survey of senior business and human resources executives released today, found that despite the global financial crises this past year, which has seen unemployment rise, there remains a shortage of high-quality skilled professionals to fill positions in the financial services sector in Canada. As a result, business executives expressed concerned about losing business opportunities and bench strength to support operations.

The survey conducted by Watson Gardner Brown, a financial services recruitment firm in Toronto, indicates that 80% of respondents project either a loss of business opportunities (40%) or a lack of bench strength (40%) to support their business operations this year and into the next decade.

Employers indicate the hardest positions to fill are in the specialized areas of risk management (33.3%) and compliance (27.8%), while 22% of respondents list credit management, investment finance & wealth management as the most difficult areas to find top talent. Almost half (48%) indicate they expect the "skilled labour shortage will continue for the next couple of years."

"The story behind the numbers," says Colleen Watson, President of Watson Gardner Brown, "is that companies are being forced to rethink their hiring and retention practices or face the consequences. This includes taking a critical look at a combination of employee development (50%) innovative recruitment techniques (50%) such as targeted research and succession planning (42.3%) if they want their businesses to prosper."

As to why the war for talent is heating up? Companies expressed concern that top talent is still expecting top dollars, while others indicate that top-quality candidates are still employed and less eager to make a move or leave an established relationship in this market.

However, according to Watson Gardner Brown "today, there are more sophisticated products, clients and regulations that have forced companies to hire different skill sets in order to effectively run their businesses". These skill sets such as risk management are in short supply in Canada.

However some respondents indicated they used this time to upgrade talent in their organizations and found it more competitive in today's market to fill those positions.

Taking Stock-Human Capital 2010 & Beyond survey was conducted by Watson Gardner Brown in September 2009 and surveyed 590 company senior business and human resources executives in the financial services sector in Canada.

About Watson Gardner Brown

Established in 1993, Watson Gardner Brown (www.brondesbury.com/wgb.htm) is a boutique executive search company specializing in the financial services sector. Watson Gardner Brown also offers talent management assessments and solutions to assist companies in developing business strategies in the human capital area.

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