Jodie Murray, head of lending recruitment at Boxtree

Recruitment trends in the current bridging and commercial industries

Having worked through two recessions within a lending recruitment career spanning 20 years, it is interesting to see the current trends within the bridging and lending markets.

The recent recession has given a notable rise in our partners requiring flexibility in their existing hiring practices and, as such, we have witnessed an obvious move away from permanent recruitment appointments and needs, with fixed-term, flexible contracts taking precedence. 

The uptake in the FTC market making a comeback is most evident within collections and servicing teams across all products and services.

This is a significant shift for us and is markedly down to bridging clients transitioning from a candidate-led hiring market, to a heavily client-led one, with our partners now able to dictate the workforce flexibility required in line with their ever-changing working environments. 

Bridging specifically remains strong and has been consistent throughout the global pandemic, with 85% of the roles retained by the finance division at Boxtree being in the bridging market. The top three job roles that we are seeing appointments for include busines development managers, underwriters, and assistant underwriters, depicting a clear nod to clients’ intentions to keep growth — organic or otherwise ¬— at the forefront of operational objective.

As with the last recession, we are also seeing a surge of enquiries from new entrants to the market, from both investors looking to take market share and establish a lending brand, through to brokers who were aware of their lack of residual income during Covid-19 and the subsequent closure of the UK property market. In almost every case, opening a lender was always the plan, but the current climate and threat of future lockdown made them realise these quicker.

100% of the business recruitment activity in bridging comes from London and southern county regions, but my plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond is to build out our offering nationally, especially now that we have Naomi Little in the team, with plans to recruit further. Our next hire comes directly from the industry.

The bridging market has proven time and time again to be a very resilient and robust market for talent acquisition. From the credit crunch in 2007 through to the recession seen in 2020, bridging recruitment has thrived in both good and bad markets and we have seen the same hiring demands and needs from 2019 carry through to 2020, continuing intentions for 2021.

Development finance has been hardest hit overall, with the natural struggles of projects being sold on or completed. That said, recruitment within development finance is now well on the way to recovery with the market opening back up and our observations leaning towards a steady flow of business development managers, underwriters and ‘heads of’ opportunities being budgeted for and discussed at hiring manager level. We believe the intent here shown by businesses is to not fall on laurels of previous years but redefine their Q4 — irrespective of 2020 disruption.

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