Luxembourg resources and capacity challenges

The “war for talent” continues to rage across the whole Asset Manager/Service Provider industry, and Luxembourg is no exception. Through my own network, board mandates, including my Advisory position with Anderson Wise, I have a few current observations that are apparent in Luxembourg today.

The Perfect Storm – skill shortage
Changing operating models (offshoring, outsourcing), regulatory changes, shift towards Private Assets, and excess demand over supply are all combined to create a perfect storm of skill shortages in particular areas. The most common roles in demand are AML/KYC, Compliance, ESG knowledge, private asset administration.

If the industry collaborated more the notion of “boot camps”, taking in raw recruits, or university graduates, or high potential candidates from a catchment area beyond Luxembourg, undergoing an intensive 2-3 month immersive training, with the reassurance of sponsoring employers poised to offer roles once the boot camp is complete, may offer sustainable solutions in the medium term.

The industry knows exactly where the “pain points” are, so why can’t there be an industry solution?

Leadership – fit for purpose
No longer a luxury, now a necessity; the world has changed around us especially in the past two years, and leaders face new environmental challenges and changing attitudes of employees
How do you “lead” people when they largely work remotely?
How do you interact when business travel may remain limited?
How do you inspire when pre-existing stresses of a job are amplified by the anxieties of a pandemic? How do leaders shift from being “mentors” to “coaches”?
How do leaders adapt to the changing needs of employees, now perhaps more than ever focused on work/life balance?
How do leaders learn to motive the next generation of employees, with different motivators and a more societal attitude to the workplace?
Investing in your leaders of today and tomorrow is more important than ever, but which leadership coaching approach to follow?

Anderson Wise recommend the Henka Institute, offering flexible options, small cohorts, remote and physical, and a proven alumni of converts able to advocate its impact
This is becoming an obligation not a “nice to have”; invest in leaders or risk them remaining over promoted managers

Interim solutions
There is a massive demand for “interims” at all levels. Luxembourg is a country of subsidiaries, each with relatively small numbers of employees (25-100) disproportionately impacted by absence due to maternity, holiday, sickness, turnover, sabbaticals
The “Big Four” are often requested to provide interim relief but at a premium
Regulator action (fines) in Ireland recently remind us employers cannot simply allow vacancies at Conducting Officer level to remain open for prolonged periods
Employers have no “preferred solution” to turn to, offering the immediacy and flexibility of interims, who have been filtered, assessed, “certified” and available through a “clearinghouse” agency, able to match availability to demand, at all levels, using an increasing number of candidates preferring a more flexible arrangement (semi-retirees, working mothers seeking a gradual return, work/life balance)
It perhaps takes a group of pioneering initial clients (employers) to offer predictable future demand to motivate the creation of such a solution

Once considered a wonderful option to ensure regular supplies of coffee and all the photo-copying done, now a valuable source of talent for tomorrow
If filtered and selected wisely, and offered a “real” role for a prolonged period (at least 6 months), interns are a small investment for valuable returns and offer the employer the chance to assess and consider for a longer-term role with the firm
International-minded interns are by definition more likely to think broadly, openly, have more confidence and ideas
Whilst again there does not appear to be a “clearinghouse” solution available, for now, try it directly through your own network across your firm; early search, filter, focused interview, and selection time investment can yield long term returns by finding next-generation leaders always grateful for that first opportunity offered them

Professional Recruiting Firms
A long-established service, but still with few trustworthy options. Too often considered “expensive”, there appears to be a newfound respect for the “value” they can bring and the speed at which they deliver.
The best recruitment firms will choose their clients, not the other way around!
The most productive relationship is one where the recruiter has respect for the employer as one that will be attractive to candidates, where the relationship is with the Head of Business rather than Head of Procurement, where the process to navigate a candidate is simple and clear decision points, where feedback is shared openly with the recruiter, and where the commercial discussion focuses on value not price
The problem recruiters face today is not a shortage of engagements but a shortage of candidates; the best recruiters want to place someone for a long-term rewarding career, not to “churn” the same recruit every few years. Today’s candidates are placed into roles where they can grow their careers, become tomorrow’s leaders who will one day make decisions about hiring a recruitment firm. Doesn’t it make sense therefore to create a preferred recruiter relationship with a firm that has this long-term “value” mindset?

The war for talent is everyone’s problem and whilst there will always be competition for the best people, there remain benefits in some of the solutions being pursued as industry collaborations. Well worth a debate!

Chris Edge
Advisory Board Member
Anderson Wise

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