Treasury predictions for 2018

Rachael Crocker Treasury, Market Insight

Happy new year! Brewer Morris Treasury enjoyed a good year of growth in 2017, I've written a brief overview of the treasury recruitment market last year and my thoughts on what opportunities treasury professionals can expect to see this year and beyond.

Brief overview of 2017:

Brewer Morris Treasury headed into 2017 with a certain degree of trepidation, we were coming off the back of a turbulent 2016 both economically and politically, and we were expecting an uncertain start to the year. However, we were relatively busy throughout 2017 across most levels and areas of specialism. We have placed individuals from Treasury Analyst up to Group Treasurer with salaries of between £40,000 and £200,000. These roles have come about for a variety of reasons including newly created positions, roles generated through team moves and replacing individuals who have moved on.

The senior interim market was slower than the permanent all year with many of our senior interim contacts waiting longer than usual for their next assignment, permanent processes were more protracted with decision-making taking a little longer than usual.

Despite this we saw a good level of recruitment activity all year, some of this is because we have taken market share from our competitors and moved very deliberately into the more junior space, so does not necessarily signal a busy market, but we certainly saw a steady flow of new opportunities coming in throughout the first half of the year and into the summer.

The usual summer slow-down came later than in previous years, with July and August keeping us unusually busy, it wasn’t until September that we saw the consistent flow of new roles ease off.

Qualified treasury professionals remain in demand at all levels, we are seeing strong candidates coming to the market and companies are working hard to attract the best talent in the profession.

Predictions for 2018:

As we begin 2018 we are expecting to see much of the same by way of ongoing uncertainty as there remains anxiety about the global economy and we will likely see more impact from Brexit as negotiations progress.

There are also wider political risks across the world and certain sectors remain troubled, add to this reduced corporate finance activity and we can say with some certainty there will be an impact on corporate confidence which may lead to delays in decision making at least, so whilst we expect new opportunities to continue to come to the market, we may find that processes move more slowly next year as a result.

The good news is that uncertainty always creates interesting work and exciting opportunities for Treasury professionals, with Brexit moving forwards we expect to see roles with a focus on FX management, global cash visibility and streamlining by automation of processes through systems projects coming to the fore.

Brexit is a great opportunity for Treasurers to raise their profile by helping corporates to navigate any changes and by being pro-active in their approach to potential issues.

Last year we saw a significant increase in the number of cash management strategy teams being formed, and roles within this space being created. This demonstrates that companies are prioritising the importance of this area of treasury. Companies are also looking for their treasury teams to focus on investing surplus cash and reducing borrowing costs to maximise efficiency within their global structures. Strong cash management skills are likely to remain on the agenda over the next few years particularly if raising finance and investing surplus funds becomes more challenging.

Private Equity firms have continued to invest heavily in medium-sized enterprises and the need for robust cash management practices in these businesses has seen them creating new standalone roles at Treasury Manager or Head of Treasury level. These are interesting roles for candidates who can bring best practice from a more established treasury function and implement it across a smaller business.

The introduction of IFRS9 should mean some project work within treasury accountancy and regulatory changes will continue to impact all areas of treasury with some corporates forming specific teams to focus on compliance and governance.

As we have seen in previous slowdowns, the corporate treasury recruitment market is incredibly resilient with demand traditionally remaining steady as treasurers’ skill sets are required to help businesses through more difficult times.