Recruitment advice, job seeker support and company news

Accountancy and Finance Recruitment

19th April 2022

There's a wide range of job openings in accountancy and finance. As the number of immediately available candidates continues to fall and niche roles remain stubbornly hard to fill accountancy and finance recruiter Suzanne Burr explains what is happening in the job market and how employers can prepare their recruitment campaigns to hire more successfully.

To chat in more detail with Suzanne contact

Video Transcript

What's been happening across accountancy and finance recruitment?

Well, over the last six months, the volume of assignments has consistently increased month on month. We haven't been this busy since quarter 1 in 2020. I think it's been a lot busier. We've seen a lot happening at the entry-level to the mid-level of the market, with a range of roles across different sectors.

The range is really broad, with clients hiring across the finance disciplines from AP right through to finance managers. There's also a rise in niche specialist roles such as economists, tax, compliance, and systems accounting, which can be particularly difficult for us to resource for.

But the pattern of recruitment is fairly even between contracts and permanent, which is good because I think for a time we were seeing a lot more happening on the temporary side, but also I would say that we're seeing inquiries from candidates at the more senior end of the market rising, which is really encouraging for us because it would indicate that there's going to be prospective movements in the market moving forward.

The point you made about hard to resource roles, is there a lack of applicants at the moment?

Most definitely in certain areas, I would say. While the whole market has become busier, we've noticed particularly high demand for professionals at the mid to senior level, CAs with Practice experience, newly qualified accountants, statutory reporting, tax, and also payroll, and AP.

I've also noticed a lot more activity with E&P companies that are searching for qualified accountants and for the specialist roles that I mentioned earlier.

Whenever there's a pinch point in candidate availability, we also see a bit of a rise in counter-offer activity, and that's what we're experiencing now as well. The counter-offers are not solely about a rise in salary. We've had recent instances where candidates have been successfully countered with flexible working and promotions too.

Are you managing lots of inquiries about salaries and benchmarking?

Yeah, well, these scenarios are not leading to a marked shift in rates of pay or salaries, but yes, definitely, Jac, there's a lot of benchmarking happening, and so I think that we're reaching a bit of a tipping point where counter-offers will start to drive up rates of pay more generally.

What are your key recommendations for employers?

Well, I would say where possible, plan ahead, as your recruitment process could very well take many weeks or even months, depending on what the requirement is, there are very few immediately available candidates, which is a real struggle, and most people are preferring permanent work over temporary. In this market as well I think you have to be persuasive and be able to showcase why someone would want to work for you. Some of the local Practice firms do a really good job of this. They're sharing employee stories about career development, training, and team support, for instance. And those things are much more specific to the work people do as opposed to the more generic, company-wide messaging that sometimes you see a bit more frequently.

There's also a real desire for flexible working and a hybrid working pattern. But some employers are often unclear on this point and they're losing good people at the application, interview, and even at the offer stages. So I would encourage employers as well to give this some consideration and what they can do on this point because it can be a bit of a deal-breaker for some candidates.

And also consider whether you need to change your standard recruitment process to widen the pool of potential candidates. Could you offer job-share or part-time? The systems experience that you're looking for can be taught in-house? Have you considered hiring for skills, attitudes and behaviours rather than focusing on previous experience? So, yeah, lots of things for employers to consider.

And your advice for job seekers?

Well, I'd encourage them to think carefully about what it is they're looking for in their next move. The market is definitely picking up, so it's a really great time for them to be testing the water and having a look around. And if they have an open mind, it can definitely lead to something exciting and something new for them, something fresh. Their skills are absolutely in demand and they may have lots of options on the table, but it's still better to make a considered decision rather than make a move that you may regret in the long term.

So I'd encourage finance professionals also to get in touch with us. We can give them a good general market update and talk through their circumstances, which often will give them the clarity that they need.

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