European countries attracting governance candidates

Brexit has been a topic of discussion for many years now, and a cause for concern for the European governance recruitment market for even longer. In our latest report, 5 key trends: How Brexit and the pandemic are shaping European governance recruitment, we brought to light the increasingly popular trend among financial services organisations to move some or all of their operations, employees, assets or legal entities to European markets.


New Financial estimates that banks, insurance firms and asset managers have already collectively transferred approximately £1 trillion (€1.1 trillion) in assets and funds because of Brexit. In the wake of this movement, European hotspots are beginning to emerge with Dublin proving to be the most popular for businesses setting up EU hubs, secondary locations, or satellite offices.


Best European cities for UK financial services business relocation

In our 2018 report we predicted that Germany, France and Ireland would benefit the most from the impact of Brexit o the governance recruitment market. Even back then, major names across a range of sectors had already confirmed new European headquarters and workforce relocations to Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin. Benelux and Switzerland were not far behind though, with both regions continuing to be popular destinations for international expansion plans.


However, as it stands today, the most popular cities for UK business relocation are:

  1. Dublin (25% of all moves)
  2. Paris (19%)
  3. Luxembourg (17%)
  4. Frankfurt (12%)
  5. Amsterdam (9%)

Major banks and insurers have also announced high-profile moves to Madrid (4%), Brussels (3%) and Stockholm (1%).


Challenges facing financial services entities relocating to the EU

While leaving the European trading bloc created many challenges to the financial services sector in the UK, in January 2021, London lost an average of €8 billion a day in trading to the bloc, further challenges remain in moving operations to European markets.


Skills shortages

Skills shortages continue to have a significant impact on employers in the EU. Technical skills are especially sought-after across most governance roles, although interpersonal capabilities are more in-demand among those hiring cyber professionals. Staff retention is likely to become a greater problem for businesses as the fight for high-quality talent intensifies.


For many financial services firms looking to relocate, internal talent presents an opportunity as more than half of corporate governance professionals we polled claimed they would consider relocation, although the figures varied from function to function. While 60% of risk managers would look for opportunities outside the country, only 43% of security and resilience employees said the same.


Language barriers

Despite the popularity or willingness for current staff to relocate, this poses its own set of challenges. Brits are well known for not being bi-lingual and languages education board, ESOL, confirms that 62% of the population only speak English! By comparison, on average 56% of people from the European Union speak at least one foreign language, 28% speak at least two and 11% speak three or more. This could create challenges interacting with local markets.


Additionally, this could present a challenge for UK jobseekers as they compete for top positions in countries where English isn’t the native language, especially against home-grown talent.


Navigating the skills shortage and language barriers will prove difficult for many financial services firms in many countries that operate largely in their local language such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. UK and US talent who are fluent in multiple languages will prove to be very valuable in these countries. However, English-speaking talent will find particularly favourable hiring conditions in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Nordic region.


How can you improve your European governance recruitment and combat these challenges?

Barclay Simpson has a dedicated division covering all our specialist areas of recruitment in the European market. Taking a 360-approach to resourcing, we understand the best ways to source appropriate domestic and international candidates, and the logistics of relocating people within Europe and globally, allowing you to focus on your own priorities assured that your recruitment needs are being handled.


Our geographic reach covers Germany, Switzerland, Benelux and the Nordics with a client portfolio that includes international and local banks, insurance firms, investment management, private equity, fintech, consulting and commercial companies.


Get in touch to learn how a working with Barclay Simpson can help you enhance your team in the UK or EU to secure your company’s future:


Taunusanlage 8, Frankfurt, HE 60329


Tel: +49 (0) 172 533 2593