Senior human resources (HR) opinion is divided within the financial services sector about claims there is a shallow talent pool among the profession.
It follows a survey of 112 City-based senior-level HR executives, conducted by recruitment firm Oakleaf, which found that nine in 10 believed there were not enough quality HR professionals in the sector.
Six in 10 respondents would most likely hire from other sectors, it found.
Richard Fuller, HR director at asset management firm Threadneedle, admitted it was difficult to extract talent from a competitive market, but disagreed there was a lack of quality HR staff.
“Talent is out there and it’s a case of wiggling it out and finding it,” he said.
John McCluskey, HR director at debt purchaser Cabot Financial, said finding talented HR people was difficult because there is still too much ‘personnel’ focus within the profession, and not enough people who were business-focused.
“I have just spent more than eight months looking for a replacement HR manager,” McCluskey said.
Speaking at the launch of the research in London last week, Mervyn Davies, chairman of Standard Chartered bank, said: “Improving the business perception of the HR function is particularly important.
“[The economy] is going through difficult times and things will get worse before they get better. HR functions need to protect themselves from the inevitable tightening of budgets and rationalisation of headcount.”
Davies also dubbed Luke Johnson’s scathing attack on HR departments in the Financial Times earlier this month as “pathetic”.
He said: “The man clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about. If you are searching for talent, HR has to be your business partner. I wouldn’t have had any success without HR.”