Monday, 18 May 2015

Why are IT contractors being drawn to the financial services sector?

It’ll come as no surprise to most people that IT contractors have continued to be in demand in recent years. Along with the growth of technology, social media and the internet of things, firms have also had to bolster their online defences to protect themselves against the increasing threat of cyberterrorism. However, according to our latest analysis of our contractor database, rising numbers of professionals are choosing to work in the financial services arena. But why is there such demand from this sector in particular?

The aforementioned cybersecurity issue is certainly one of the main factors that is luring professionals into the finance world. We all saw the impact of the hack on Sony’s database last year that resulted in a number of exclusive movies being leaked and organisations are becoming more and more aware of the threat online terrorism poses to their defences. In fact, the threat is so real that the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has admitted that an attack on financial institutions is highly likely to take place in the near future. In addition, Benjamin Lawsky, head of the New York Department of Financial Services revealed that he was seriously concerned about the vulnerability of the US’ financial systems. It goes without saying that the information firms have at their disposal is of incredible value and could potentially have catastrophic effects if it was leaked or was to fall into the wrong person’s hands. For that reason, firms have sought specialist contractors, many of whom have been able to claim above average rates as a result of the shortage of talent in this field.

However, cyberterrorism isn’t the only factor that’s attracting these professionals. Perhaps the biggest challenge for financial institutions in recent years has been meeting the ever-growing regulatory burden. This has meant that organisations have had to meet much more rigorous standards in order to remain compliant and to avoid some of the hefty fines that have been handed out in recent years. In order to remain on the right side of regulation, firms have had to take on specialists who can design, create and embed systems into existing networks and, like cybersecurity, there are a relatively limited number of these individuals with the right skills available in the current market.

Other factors have also played a part. The growth of online banking and the entire mobile industry has meant that more individuals utilise their phones to manage their finances. Consequently, firms have had to design mobile systems and sites that meet the ever changing demands of the modern market. While this isn’t an especially new trend, these platforms are considerably more advanced than the average website and require detailed security processes to be in place as well as providing access to a range of different services for consumers. As a result, they must be continuously monitored, reviewed and updated to ensure there’s no potential for leaks or systems failures and this is driving much of the additional demand for specialist IT contractors.

What factors do you think are attracting IT contractors to financial services?

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