Central Bank struggles to attract external applicants as Brexit looms

Regulator had signalled intention to staff up to deal with Brexit but can’t fill 200 roles

The Central Bank is struggling to attract enough external applicants to fill up to 200 roles. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Central Bank is struggling to attract enough external applicants to fill up to 200 roles. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

The Central Bank is struggling to fill roles with external applicants as it tries to deal with high turnover rates by attracting staff to fill some 200 available roles.

According to just published minutes of the regulator’s Commission meeting of April 28th, the regulator is facing a “resourcing challenge”, due to a high turnover rate and not enough appropriate applications from external applicants.

Over the past 10 years, employment at the bank has risen by 64 per cent to cope with its expanded role, and the recruitment of some 200 staff had been identified for 2017. Earlier this year it emerged that the Central Bank had decided to allocate 28 out of 170 new full-time staff to cover Brexit.

However, in the first quarter of the year there was a net increase in headcount of just five full-time equivalents.

“It was therefore not feasible to expect all vacancies would be filled this year,” the Central Bank said.

High turnover levels were cited as part of the problem, trending at 7 per cent, while the high level of employees on leave is also an issue.

“At any point in time, approximately 70 staff were on long-term leave from the bank, primarily through external secondment,” the regulator said.

Stronger talent pipeline

Of roles advertised, more than half were filled internally, thus creating “a high volume of ‘knock-on’ vacancies”. For example, in the first quarter while 149 job offers were accepted, the net impact on job figures was just five.

To cope with the challenge, the regulator said it has developed a resourcing strategy, including developing a stronger talent pipeline for the future, and better communicating the “value proposition” of a job with the regulator, both internally and externally.

It can also offer retention payments where it risks losing key employees; last year it made such payments of €449,089 to 28 “target employees”, or €16,000 on average, up from €38,009 to just three staff in 2015.

Despite the challenges, the Governor of the Central Bank Philip Lane asserted that the shortfall currently remains “manageable”, and it was important that the bank hired “appropriate matches” to the work and grew at a sustainable rate in order to absorb and develop new staff into the organisation.

The regulator is currently advertising for 28 open positions, including a financial market infrastructure oversight manager and deputy governor (prudential regulation).

As of year-end 2016, the bank employed 1,697 people at a cost (excluding pension costs) of €115 million, up from 1,385 back in 2012, at a cost of €98.8 million. The average salary has also fallen during this time, down from €62,295 to €61,020.

Whistleblowers

The minutes also reveal that in 2017, the bank received 30 reports through its whistleblower desk, up from nine reports received in the same period in 2016. “While there was no specific industry sector behind the increase, it was noted that the spikes had occurred around the media coverage of the technical issues regarding the whistleblower line,” the Central Bank said.

The whistleblower desk was orginally part of the organisational risk division, but moved during the year to the enforcement advisory division.