Top Four Trends in the Tax Industry This Year

Jonny Morton - Robert Walters Tax Consultant - 2018 industry trends

The latest Robert Walters research has shown increased salaries for newly qualified professionals, a high demand for mid-level managers and whilst corporate tax continues to be the focus for the majority of opportunities, businesses are now increasingly looking for candidates with a broad set of skills across multiple taxes. Jonny Morton, Senior Tax Consultant at Robert Walters, shares his insights.



Base Salary Increase

The number one trend in the tax recruitment industry in 2018 is the increase in salaries for professionals, particularly when making their first career move into an in-house tax team. Businesses continue to focus on tax professionals for manager level positions, which tend to command salaries between the £60k and £100k mark. Almost 60% of our candidates achieved a base salary between those levels, with only 9% making less than £40k.

Jonny believes that “if you are languishing in the mid-fifties for a base salary, we will almost certainly have a great in-house opportunity waiting for you.”

Tax Managers in demand

Manager level candidates continue to be in demand throughout different businesses and industries, with highly competitive salaries in return. Different industries use different language for their job titles, but in general the the ‘Manager’ and ‘Senior Manager’ titles include the VPs and SVPs at banks for those generally between 7-15 years in tax. The statistics tell a similar story to the base salaries, with the majority of businesses hiring at the Manager level.

In light of this trend, Jonny says “when looking to make a move from practice, you will have your best opportunity/choice during those first two/three years after qualifying.”

More and more we are finding that our clients want candidates with a broad set of skills.

Tax Focus Skills

Corporate Tax roles continue to dominate the market and it does not look like that will change anytime soon. The most interesting finding from the research is that a staggering third of roles have a mixed tax skew. “More and more we are finding that our clients want candidates with a broad set of skills.”

If professionals restrict themselves to just corporate tax or VAT, they will be missing out on a world of opportunity. Also, for future development, bear in mind that any Head of Tax will be expected to have a broad understanding of multiple taxes. “It seems clear to us that there is huge benefit to becoming more of a generalist”.

Jonny recommends “looking at the smaller tax teams in industry. Coming from a simply corporate tax background in practice will be absolutely fine to get you a mixed tax job, but you will be encouraged to learn about the issues surrounding other taxes. Showing drive and a desire to broaden your knowledge will be key.”

Industry Sector Experience

Robert Walters’ strong relationships with the major financial services institutions continues to dominate in 2018. With the additional regulation and legislation that the financial services industry is scrutinised by, it is no wonder that businesses choose to employ more in-house tax professionals than other large corporates, as it would simply be too risky to rely on external advisors.

There have been noticibly strong trend in 2018 where employers are more interested in candidates’ tax technical skills than the sector they have previously worked in.

Jonny believes that “if you are relatively young in your tax tenure, why not give a stint in a global investment bank a try? The sector typically pays its tax professionals better than the equivalent in commerce, and the banks are really open to your existing experience being from outside the industry. If it’s not for you in the long run, we see plenty of tax professionals making the move back into commerce later in their career.”

2018 has seen strong trends emerge in the tax recruitment industry. The base salary jump when moving in-house means that over two thirds of our candidates make £60k or more.


If you are considering a new direction in your tax career, why not get in touch to discuss the opportunities we have available? For the latest tax jobs please look here, or contact Jonny Morton at

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