Due to the strategic re-structuring, organisations in the financial sector are changing rapidly. The life cycle of financial products diminishes and distibution channels change, not in the least due to the Internet. At the same time, financial institutions are faced with fierce competition and a 'Regulatory Perfect Storm' via new regulations demanding more advanced internal control systems. These developments have an impact on the most important resources of banks, their employees.

The world economy has seen renewed growth in 2003 and 2004. Gross domestic product rose strongly in the United States and the economic contraction in France and Germany appeared to stabilise, while Britain and Spain expanded steadily the last few years. Asian economies, such as China, India, and Australia, show strong growth. The upswing of the world economy in 2003 and 2004 will probably continue in 2005. (1) Although the Dutch economy is likely to struggle out of the recession, the recovery is still fragile and uncertain. However, this year Dutch economic growth is expected to reach 1.5% in 2005. The forecasts show an economy that performs rather poorly (compared to other highly developed countries), with a modest economic recovery in 2004 and 2005. (2) The Financial Services Industry however is a huge employer in the Netherlands with more than 150.000 employees and over 300.000 employees world-wide. This underlines their economic role in the Dutch and global economy at large. The number of banks in the Netherlands has remained fairly stable during the last few years. Noticeable is that the number of bank branches has declined and the number of cash dispensers increased by almost 21%. This illustrates the shift to self service, a trend which is further supported through the rise of electronic banking. (3) Other important developments are: - the leveraging of Human Capital: via the use of new tools putting a new face on performance measurement, - offshoring: the relocation of operations to lower-cost countries such as India, while maintaining quality. For the banks, able to master the complexities, the benefits are substantial As most major economies are beginning to grow, Dutch banks are also revising their focus. After years of implementing cost-cutting measures due to weak business conditions, banks will now concentrate on revenue generating strategies. But even as the economy improves, new obstacles continue to emerge that banks must overcome to be successful. (1) Due to the strategic re-structuring, organisations in the financial sector are changing rapidly. The life cycle of financial products diminishes and distibution channels change, not in the least due to the Internet. At the same time, financial institutions are faced with fierce competition and a 'Regulatory Perfect Storm' via new regulations demanding more advanced internal control systems. These developments have an impact on the most important resources of banks, their employees. They are responsible for meeting the new requirements in the financial services industry regarding Control, Risk Management, Compliance, Auditing and Marketing & Sales. Banks now, more than ever, strive for an optimal deployment and the personal growth of their employees. This implies a more critical approach towards hiring new colleagues. A specialised recruitment organisation such as Michael Page Banking & Financial Services assists banks in the Netherlands with the search and selection of employees meeting the new requirements. According to this leading international recruitment firm, examples of interesting, permanent and interim jobs that Michael Page has to cover for Dutch and international companies can be found in the areas of new regulations such as the Basle II Capital Accord, IFRS and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Niels van Berkel, Director Michael Page Banking & Financial Services, signals that the renewed focus of the Dutch (and international) banks on revenue generating strategies also implies interesting opportunities in the Netherlands for high-level candidates with indepth knowledge of and experience in Corporate and Structured Finance as well as in Sales & Marketing. At this moment banks are recruiting externally again after massive hiring freezes in the last two years. Often HR advisors, recruiters or linemanagers need permission from the Board of Directors to start recruiting externally when a vacancy occurs. This results in procedures taking a long time to fill. Without advertising and with a more prominent role for filesearch and the use of an attractive internet site, recruitment agencies have to work on the more complicated vacancies. As a result candidates with a very specialist background in Actuary, ALM, Corporate or Structured Finance, Risk Management and Operations will have to visit the internetsites of well known recruitment agencies more frequently. More 'regular' positions such as Account Manager/Advisor Retail Banking will be, at first, advertised by the banks themselves before they will ask recruitment agencies to help them out. Michael Page recommends candidates from abroad, wanting to gain experience in the Dutch Financial Services Industry, to use the services of an agency such as Michael Page. The agency will assist them in finding satisfying temporary jobs via various assignments in the before mentioned areas. Niels van Berkel: "via our website www.michaelpage.nl, candidates preferring a position in Financial Services can use our 'My Page' e-mailservice. Interesting vacancies will be sent directly to your e-mailbox. After answering a few questions and forwarding us your resume, we can identify you as a suitable candidate when we conduct a filesearch for our clients." _______________________________________________ Bronnen: (1) Source: Deloitte. Global Banking Industry Outlook 2004 (2) Source: Economic Outlook CPB, Press release March 22, 2004 (3) Source: De Nederlandse Bank NV/ CBS Publication: Financiële Maandstatistiek, Statistisch Jaarboek 2002