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2017 Review of the Finance & Accounting market

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As we head towards the end of the year, we’ve taken a look back at the activity across our key sectors to highlight the trends we’ve encountered in 2017, both from our candidates and our clients.

From a candidate perspective we’ve seen a definite increase on the importance of the type of businesses and their working environments, as well as the usual interest in certain types roles and career paths:

  • More ACA NQ’s are looking to leave Practice and secure Commercial or FP&A roles
  • They are generally less interested in taking up heavy reporting roles
  • Permanent candidates are becoming tempted by a move into the interim market
  • Interest in smaller firms where candidates believe they can add more value has increased
  • Candidates value non-financial benefits as part of their remuneration packages, such as flexi-hours, working from home, summer hours/early Friday finishes, subsidised gym memberships
  • Candidates are looking for more agile working environments and not overly bureaucratic organisations
  • Social media now plays a greater role in brand awareness and influence over candidates

These candidate trends, as well as other factors, have had a clear knock-on effect with our clients in terms of demand in certain areas: 

  • Largest increase in talent acquisition of finance individuals is in the Tech space.
  • Retail businesses are continuing to look at their cost base and most roles are replacement instead of new headcount
  • Salaries at Director and Head of level are relatively unchanged, whilst Newly-Qualified to 3 years PQE are pushing 5-10% increases
  • Larger organisations are finding it harder to sustain growth with smaller, more disruptive industries enjoying increasing market share
  • An increased competitiveness in candidate attraction means more businesses are offering flexible benefits and working conditions
  • The temporary market is very strong with clients taking time to recruit the right individuals, coupled with the permanent candidates moving over (see above)
  • Roles in particular demand:
    • Technical/Group Interim Accountants – many Antipodeans return home at 2 years PQE causing a skillset gap
    • PQ Management accountants due to lack of candidate interest
    • Candidates with Group experience – demand is outstripping supply
    • Transactional level roles for European language speakers

As we look ahead to 2018, we anticipate more of the same for the first quarter, as well as hires ramping up in anticipation of GDPR. With Brexit uncertainty still a factor, the interim market should remain strong while companies hedge their bets on certain permanent hires until more is known.