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Operations hiring in the City has returned to its 2007 peak but firms are looking for new types of talent, according to Saxton Leigh.

The specialist operations, risk, compliance, finance and insurance recruiter revealed that financial services firms are feeling increasingly confident and are looking to invest in talent; however their skills requirements have changed. Organisations are now seeking operations experts who can solve complex issues and apply a commercial outlook to their role.

The increase in hiring is indicative of wider improvements in the market that saw the FTSE 100 reach a record high last week.

James Holm, operations recruitment manager at Saxton Leigh, commented on the announcement. “It’s extremely encouraging to see hiring shooting up to pre-recession levels, but really, it’s just reflecting what’s happening in the wider market. The significant change is that firms are now looking for ‘thinkers’ rather than ‘doers’. By this we mean they’re increasingly seeking professionals with experience of problem solving and finding innovative solutions that could potentially save their employers money. In the past operations professionals have been – unfairly, in my opinion - labelled as box-tickers, but now this couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“However, one issue that is affecting many employers is that everyone is looking for the same talent so there’s significant competition in the market. If firms want to avoid missing out on their first choice hires then they’re going to have to move much quicker than they currently are. In many cases, the individuals are considering several opportunities at once so if they are kept waiting by a potential suitor too long for feedback or decisions they may well be lost to a competitor.”

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