With ongoing improvement in the UK economy, a number of key trends are arising across the accountancy and finance recruitment market.
Overall, IPO volumes are on the rise as companies look to tap capital markets for investment, fuelling an increase in corporate M&A activity. Boardroom appointments have also been picking up pace as senior executives consider fresh challenges in a once depressed market.
Project and change management
For qualified accountants looking for their next role, this has driven a number of positive developments, with our latest European Job Index results showing year-on-year job levels expanding by nearly 25%. Non-financial services employers have also been more willing to hire accountants from outside their industry sector, with many seeing this as chiefly beneficial, rather than a disadvantage.
With so much change, it's perhaps unsurprising that accountants with project or change management experience have been among those most in demand. With businesses favouring those who can combine an underlying knowledge of business management and deliver improvements to the bottom line, while also overseeing finance functions during a period of transition.
Hiring sectors and salaries
A lack of pay rises have been a familiar theme for many accountants in recent times, however this year, backed by sustainable levels of growth and heightening employer confidence, we expect a lift in salaries.
Minimal pay rises have been a familiar theme for many accountants in recent times, however this year we expect a lift in salaries. In London, the booming property market has created a number of new accounting opportunities, with the traditionally vibrant technology and media sectors continuing to perform strongly.
Shifting consumer purchasing patterns are continuing to generate roles among savvier retailers, particularly those with an online presence. While roles continue to open up across professional services, most notably in legal.
Alternatively, declining commodity prices and squeezed margins have had a direct impact on hiring by energy companies, with fewer opportunities available to accountants in this sector.
For many years now, companies have typically looked to the Big '4' alumni to source the best newly-qualified accountants, with most in this talent pool receiving multiple job offers across any one period.
However, there has been a recent slowdown in this trend, with immigration reform assumed to be one of the causes. The UK has traditionally been a beacon for staff of all hues from Australia and New Zealand, benefitting from its close ties with these countries.
Visa restrictions on non-EU employees mean that more accounting candidates are returning home earlier, causing companies to focus their hiring efforts on retaining quality staff with leave to remain in the UK. Tier 1 visas are no longer being issued to migrants from these countries, meaning that those still holding them generally offer at least several years of post-qualification experience.
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