Firing in the Financial Services Industry: the 5 Most Common Reasons Finance Professionals are Laid Off


Being laid off or fired, though extremely unpleasant, is very much an aspect in every professional industry. This is especially so in today’s fiercely competitive Financial Services  market, where for every one employee,  you have numerous potential replacements and applicants for the same position. It stands to reason that Financial Services professionals today must be on their toes, like never before.

The finance industry is an integral part of the global economy and is without a doubt one of the most competitive industries. Furthermore, a recent news release from the Bureau of Labor shows that the rate of layoffs increased by 0.4 % between April 2017 and April of 2018. This is a disturbing statistical shift to say the least.

5 Primary Reasons Financial Services Professionals are Laid Off

We’re not going to look into generic reasons people get fired such as workplace misconduct and failing to meet deadlines or work standards. For the purposes of this article, we are  going to focus specifically on the financial services industry, and will share some of the most common reasons  that result in people getting laid off within it.

1)   You Aren’t Up to Date with Industry Trends

When it comes to working as a professional in the financial services world, staying abreast of current trends is critically important. This is because most of the decisions you make need to take into account the current industrial climate in order to advise your clients accurately.  Constantly checking updates and being dialed into all the rapidly changing factors that contribute to our financial milieus is one of the biggest factors that separates winners and losers within the Financial Services sector.



2)   Breaching Confidentiality

Even non-finance related professions require the signing of an NDA. Within the financial arena in particular, confidentiality and being a person that is viewed as having high integrity is crucial to success. If a finance professional puts this at risk either intentionally or even unintentionally, it could and should result in a swift dismissal from the job. There is simply no room for people that cannot respect and adhere to  the  high level of confidentiality required to work as a professional in this sector.

3)   Lacking Interpersonal Skills

Sure there are professions where you can thrive on raw skill and work in solitude. Finance is not one of them. You need to be able to communicate effectively, coordinate concisely, charm and chat up.  And most of all, you need to be able to give your clients the feeling that you are a professional that is capable and worthy of entrusting their hard-earned cash with. Having the ability to impart a high level of confidence in your abilities, and to give clients a feeling of assurance that they are in good hands is absolutely essential to success. There is zero tolerance for missteps when you are handling someone’s finances. Driving while intoxicated, or even over- indulging and making social missteps can ruin a career in Financial Services. If you make grave mistakes in judgment that directly affect you, who is to say that you would not make similar mistakes when the impact would affect someone else? If  you don’t fit in with your team and are unable to establish work conducive relationships, this is not the job for you.

4)   Foresight and Critical Thinking

Finance is not just number crunching as any high functioning finance professional will tell you. It involves interpretation, analysis, decision making and strategizing. In addition,  as we have stated earlier, being a successful financial services provider  requires a high degree of coordination and liaising with other professionals. If you lack the foresight and critical thinking abilities you need in finance, you won’t make the best calls. Lacking these key skills will make you very replaceable.

5)   Legal Complications

Last but not least, finance professionals, particularly those in the corporate sector, need to fiercely guard their reputation both in and out of the workplace. Sure what you do on your own time is really your business. This being said, in the financial services industry, finding yourself on the wrong side of the law or involved in an unsavory legal matter could very well result in the company you work for not wanting to be associated with you.


If you’re looking to make a career in finance, having a sense of the market and what is out there puts you in a better position to navigate and thrive. With industries across the board getting more competitive as the years progress and unemployment rates continue to fall,  being on top of your game is crucial to holding your job. Furthermore, you need to use all the resources at your disposal to make yourself indispensable. This is no truer than it is when it comes to finance.

Since 1999, International Search Consultants has been a leader in Financial Services Executive Search. If you are a hiring manager that wants to upgrade your team, call us today. We would love the opportunity to provide you with a strong pool of candidates for any critical fill positions you may have.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of ISC. Ann can be reached via direct dial at 888-866-7276 or at

Anna Souers is ISC’s Director of Financial Services Recruiting, and can be reached at 800-450-3808 or via email at