Being a hiring manager is no easy task
For the last seven years, I headed up a Risk and Compliance function at a major Australian financial institution. Given the large volume of regulatory compliance work we faced from time to time, there were times where I had to hire contractors to help supplement my team in order to meet our deadlines and objectives. If you are in financial services in Australia, I am sure you are experiencing the same!
Being a hiring manager was no easy task (as I am sure many of you reading this would empathise), especially in a competitive market for talent and the fact that we don’t usually have a choice on who we get when we use a large advisory firm (they simply assign us someone from the bench). Each time I looked to hire Risk and Compliance resources for short-term work (contracts), I was faced with two options. They are reasonable options in a traditional hiring model.
- Option 1: Go to the recruitment firms on the Recruitment Panel and have them find the candidates for you.
- Option 2: Approach anyone of the large advisory firms and engage them. They usually send us a team made up of a Partner, Director, Manager and the “chap who did all the fieldwork”. This represents a typical client engagement model with a big firm.
Hiring consultants during the “good times” was easy
Pre-GFC (“Global Financial Crisis”) when corporate bar taps were still a common occurrence, picking up the phone to one of the large risk advisory firms was easy as budgets weren’t too much of a problem for the corporates. Having a recruiter find contractors to cover a 6 to 12 month period was also easy without many questions asked. Consulting budgets were still generous in those days and resourcing needs were filled quite seamlessly. People also weren’t overly skeptical over the consultants they were assigned and were ‘easy-going’ with the value they received. It was the good times after all!
Hiring contractors today is a totally different story
Corporate Australia is at a time where companies are increasingly (and quickly!) looking for ways to innovate, to save costs, streamline processes, be more agile, be adaptive, and start thinking of how to make flexible workforce a reality.
Australian firms are increasingly focused on their domestic strategies (after some challenges and stints by some big players overseas) and consolidating pretty much everything to focus on core business and offloading ‘burdensome’ aspects of their businesses. A sharp and cutting focus on expenses is a reality today to ensure a reasonable bottom-line result from quarter to quarter.
What do all these mean for hiring?? Lightening the company’s balance sheet of its staff salaries and wages liabilities (headcount) and the rise of the use of “contingent labour” are on-trend! Companies are becoming open to the use of specialist freelancers and convinced that they do not require a large “permanent full-time employment” staff count. Of course, they need to ensure proper knowledge retention procedures are in place to set this all up for success!
Hiring a contractor via traditional recruitment agencies
During the last seven years, we have hired many times through the traditional recruitment agencies. We had mixed experiences with the numerous agencies that we dealt with, some good, some not so good. The process was always the same … we provided a brief, we get some CVs flicked our way, we shortlist a few and here we go with the interviews! If we are lucky, there will be one candidate who ticked most boxes and we run a couple more interviews. It would always take about one month (on average) to successfully hire a contractor who would come in for about six months (on average to help us with stuff).
The biggest issue we faced was that this was simply a time-consuming exercise and sometimes, you get a recruiter who hasn’t spent a day in a ‘risk and compliance’ function and you end us with some duds. Going ‘back to the drawing board’ wasn’t uncommon. But a waste of time!
Using a large risk advisory firm
In my experience, we sometimes end up with a ‘junior staff’ from a large advisory firm that we had to end up training and skilling them up to help us out with the regulatory or risk work. We didn’t always get the value we were looking for. They are big brands and people generally find it easy to engage them and use their services. Again, mixed experience, some great and some not that great.
Sometimes, it took a while to skill up these people (we were paying) in order to effectively help us with the task at hand, and hence time-consuming.
Big point to make here is the large fees (charge out rates) that we had to pay the firms. The value proposition needs to be re-visited.
“The use of traditional accounting and advisory firms are proving expensive and the consultants they use may be relatively junior and not have much industry experience.In addition, traditional hiring methods (through recruitment agencies or in-house teams) are proving costly and time-consuming, and in some cases the candidates put forward are not the right fit.”
A new and better way for companies hire Risk and Compliance specialists for short term work
The founder of MEETIG8, James Lai, after having spent 15 years on both the ‘sell’ and ‘buy’ sides of risk advisory services saw an opportunity in the market for an online marketplace for Risk and Compliance freelancers (i.e. experienced independent specialists or small boutique advisory firms) and companies to connect directly.
As crucial as Risk and Compliance roles are to an organisation, they’re not revenue generating and the risk function needs to be run as efficiently as possible. MEETIG8 enables organisations to find risk professionals at a fraction of the cost, bypassing recruiters and expensive accounting firms and instead connecting directly with the highly qualified professionals they need.”
“MEETIG8 is Australia’s first online marketplace for Risk and Compliance freelance professionals and it allows companies of all sizes connect quickly and directly with experienced specialists.
We aim to be a cost-effective and innovative way for companies to engage risk professionals for their short-term needs, anywhere from a couple of days to a few months.”
How does MEETIG8 work?
It is free for companies (of all sizes) and independent risk specialists to register with MEETIG8. All specialists are vetted before accepted on platform so as to ensure only quality specialists are on-boarded. Once the platform goes live, companies can post assignments and risk specialists can pitch for jobs; rates are negotiated prior to engagement. MEETIG8 charges a small and competitive service fee to the client for use of the platform.