Special Feature: Staffing solutions in a growing market

The problem for lenders and other product providers is - do they increase fixed costs by recruiting extra permanent staff or can they allocate it as a variable cost by taking experienced trained staff on for a short period of time to overcome the urgent issues?

With 2014 looking like a growth year if current trends continue and with the implementation of the Mortgage Market Review, the time to start planning is now.

The Institute of Financial Services has just revealed a large increase in registrations for CeMAP qualifications in preparation for the MMR. That research confirms our own belief that many experienced financial services professionals have chosen to skill up and become more versatile; to enhance not only their own CVs but also giving them the opportunity to seek more varied job roles as the market improves.

We like these people; a good number have chosen to register with us as associates and consultants rather than take full-time employment allowing them greater flexibility over their own lifestyle and giving making them a valuable resource and experience.

Rockstead was built at the time when the mortgage market started to decline in 2008. It recruited over a dozen high quality individuals who had become available as a result of the market slowdown. Those individuals helped build and develop a database of other associate professionals who had lost jobs in that difficult period. That database now holds over 200 names across the UK, Ireland and Iberia and, by deploying that workforce across the market, Rockstead has developed a staffing services facility which is now proving valuable to other companies facing staffing shortages.

Over the past two years we have been helping our key customers, particularly lenders, which are looking to ease their workflow pressures as and when business volumes spike. Staff choosing to work as consultants tend to be great multi-taskers providing superior levels of services over and above the original remit or scope. Any role within a lending organisation can be filled by a contract worker; underwriters, collectors, regulatory and compliance staff and audit and risk professionals can all work on a flexible basis to meet the lender’s requirements.

We are aware the regulator is paying more attention to lenders’ potential solutions to staffing problems as part of their own risk assessment processes. Outsourcing has clear benefits for lenders. Trained-up people which are easily and quickly deployable results in a shorter recruitment and training period with no addition to permanent staff or fixed costs. The key is to find a solution which is individually tailored to meet companies’ own bespoke needs not just increasing headcount.

Short-term and interim staffing placements are a valid solution to some of the issues facing companies and reflect the changing demographics of self-employed finance professionals. Significant players in the financial services market place are increasingly recognising that and are gearing up to react as the market improves.