Balancing the Books: Latest Trends in the European Finance Sector

Published on Oct 10, 2023

Written by Mariana Marques


The Financial Services market is one of the world’s biggest sectors, with the Global Financial Services Report 2023 estimating the total size of the market in 2023 to be $28.1 trillion, and forecast to grow to a staggering $45,149.00 billion by 2031. Western Europe is said to have the largest share of the market, accounting for 39.0% of the total, followed by North America.

Despite its vast size and importance to the global economy, earlier this year we saw what looked like signs of another financial crisis, 16 years after the last. In March and April, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th biggest banking collapses in US history – First Republic, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank respectively – all occurred within weeks of one another. Meanwhile in Europe, the collapse of Credit Suisse sent yet more shockwaves through the sector. Since then, there have been no further major collapses, but as Europe in particular teeters on the brink of recession (with Germany already officially there), there may well still be more shocks to come.

In the midst of this potentially precarious situation, what are we seeing in the sector in terms of recruitment activity, sought-after occupations, and in-demand skills? In this article, we look at these questions for some of the biggest companies in the Finance sector in Europe and the UK. 

The data is taken from our brand-new European Skills Transformation Index – an interactive page that compiles the latest recruitment, occupation, and skills trends across a number of key European industries. Click below to explore it at your own pace.

The 10 most active Finance recruiters in Europe

With a share of 19.7%, the Paris-based bank BNP Paribas had the highest recruitment activity among the 10 European Finance giants we studied in 2022. The second place was  taken by the French Insurance company AXA, with 14.6%, and third place was a tie between Santander and Société Générale, both having a share of 11.3%. 

Out of these four Financial Services companies, BNP Paribas is the one with the broadest coverage in Europe, operating in 26 European countries. The insurer Allianz was the fourth Financial Services company with the highest recruitment activity among the 10 companies we studied, holding a share of 11.2%. AXA and Allianz are the only two insurers on our recruitment list, with the remaining companies operating mainly in banking. Both have a similar size, employing between 145,000 to 147,000 people across the globe. 

Other major banks in our list include UBS, Deutsche Bank, ING, Crédit Agricole, and HSBC. Headquartered in Amsterdam, ING took the last place on the list. The 8th and 9th place went to the Swiss bank UBS and the UK bank HSBC, which took a share of 4.3% and 5.1% of all job postings advertised by the top 10 companies studied. 

What are the most in-demand Finance occupations?

When analysing the most in-demand occupations across these 10 companies, we can see how technology shapes their recruitment strategy. While various Finance-related positions made it to the top 10 most advertised occupations, many of them were tech-related, too. 

For instance, 7.5% of Deutsche Bank’s job postings were hiring for System Analysts and 6.6% for Software Developers - making them the two most sought-after occupations for the German bank. System Analysts was also the top occupation for Allianz and ING, accounting for 6.1% and 13.4% of their job postings, respectively.  

Other popular occupations amongst these Financial Services companies include Financial & Investment Advisers, present in all but AXA’s top 10 most in-demand occupations list. Advertising & Marketing Professionals was also well sought-after and was present in 8 out of the 10 companies’ lists. The exceptions are (interestingly, again) AXA and Société Générale. 

There are the odd ones out, too: Société Générale’s 7th most in-demand occupation was Shop Sales Assistants, accounting for 3.2% of its postings, and this occupation doesn’t make it to any other company’s top 10 occupations list. Interestingly, on the 1st of January this year, Société Générale announced the creation of its new French Retail banking, SG, so the bank may have been on the lookout for personnel for its new branches. 

HSBC’s 6th most sought-after occupation was Mechanical Engineering Technicians, also not shared by any other company. And lastly, 3.9% of BNP Paribas’ job postings were advertising for Personnel Clerks. 

What skills are needed in Financial Advisors and Analysts roles?

We analysed the most requested skills across all Finance institutions when hiring for Financial Advisors and Analysts in 2022. Note that when we mention skills’ frequency in job postings - these refer exclusively to Financial Advisors and Analysts job postings. 

Surprise, surprise (but not really): finance was one of the most in-demand skills across the 10 Finance companies studied when hiring for Financial Advisors and Analysts. BNP Paribas required this skill in an astonishing 67.9% of its job postings. Allianz and Société Générale were also up there, mentioning this skill in 50.7% and 45.1% of their job postings advertising for this occupation. HSBC required this skill the least, yet it was still present in 10.3% of its job postings. 

HSBC’s big focus was on retail banking. This skill was requested in 41.8% of its postings. On the other hand, Allianz had a deeper focus on investment management, with investment skills being mentioned in 55.4% of its postings. This is a significant share since the average share of this skill across all companies’ job postings is just short of 20%. 

Demand for wealth management skills is rather conflicting. While Société Générale required this skill in 37.7% of its job postings, Santander and ING required it in only 2% and 3.7% of their job postings respectively. Banking-related skills such as investment, commercial, and retail banking were also the least popular with insurers AXA and Allianz, who strongly emphasised finance, risk management, and investments. 

Interestingly, some skills we would think are quite popular among banking institutions (and Financial Advisors and Analysts in particular), such as asset management and financial market, don’t seem to be as in demand. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Financial Services institutions are not investing in these skills - it could simply be that they use different terms for the same skill - a terminology gap that the Lightcast Skills Taxonomy can close. 

Get more European data 

Our data on the European Finance sector enables us to analyse major and minor trends, even helping us understand the strategic focus of European banks and where they could be headed. 

Our European Skills Transformation Index is just a snapshot of our European labour market data - but it gives you a good idea of the insights you can gather. And why have one index when you can have two? If you’re a German, Austrian, or Swiss institution or simply interested in exploring DACH employer and industry data - it’s worth checking out our DACH Skills Transformation Index too.

As an educational institution, our labour market data can help you understand the most in-demand skills across industries and adapt and market your portfolio so your students are fully equipped to meet employer demand. 

Similarly, as a talent leader, Lightcast can help you transform your organisation’s workforce data into a new skills-driven paradigm, opening up many opportunities to radically improve your workforce planning. This includes benchmarking against competitors, understanding what skills your company should be hiring for, and where to find the best talent. 

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about how our data can help you unlock opportunities and solve labour market challenges, get in touch with our team below.

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