According to a Q1 report by recruiter Randstad Financial & Professional, 2013 is looking optimistic, with the UK financial services sector noting improved macroeconomic indicators, better-than-expected company results, stronger demand and a recovering stock market.

The report was put together from the results of a survey undertaken by those working in financial services roles, including the insurance sector. While the future of the economy remains uncertain, it would seem the UK financial services industry has regained enough confidence to cast an optimistic eye over the year ahead.

A better year for businesses

In a clear display of optimism, almost 71% of those surveyed believe 2013 will be a better year for their businesses than 2012. While firms are keen to leave the instabilities of 2012 behind, it is the internal efficiencies which were implemented during the economic turmoil of recent years that are promising them long-awaited rewards in the near future.

External factors such as improved macroeconomic conditions and a recovering stock market are also behind the improved outlook. “The economy is looking up,” said one client, while another responded “I’m confident this year will be better.”

It is powerful statements like these that lend a sense of enthusiasm towards what is in store for 2013.

Hiring: an upward trend

The results of the study also suggest that many companies are expecting to hire more staff in 2013, either to meet demand or comply with new regulations. New talent is also essential for the innovation and implementation of new strategies, as one client affirmed:

“We need fresh blood to take us where we want to go; this hasn’t been possible in the last few years.”

Fresh blood seems to be increasingly likely with 57.7% of responses saying they believe headcounts in their business will grow this year, creating a year of opportunity for those looking for to move up the ladder or a career change.

Hurdling hiring obstacles

Even with such an optimistic outlook, the hiring difficulties faced by companies in 2012 are expected to spill over into 2013. Just over 41% of clients stated stretched budgets and headcount approvals as the main obstacles, while 38.9% said they struggled to find the right candidate. This calls attention to the limited availability of suitable talent and the importance of working with a trusted external recruiter.

The economic instability is also having an impact on the decisions of professions. Just over 70% of clients felt resignations would not be a prominent issue in the first six months of 2013. Top professionals are opting to stay in their current position or seek career advancement through internal promotion, in order to avoid any risk to their earnings and other perks.

Only time will tell if the recovery of the financial services sector is on the cards for 2013; but the confidence and optimism conveyed by those surveyed suggests it is on the brink of revival, and even ready for a comeback in certain areas.