Four key trends in the UK tax industry

Jonny Morton - Robert Walters Tax Consultant - 2018 industry trends

The tax industry is one of the fastest growing areas within the UK recruitment market, particularly within the financial services sector. As businesses continue to invest in their tax functions, we are seeing a rise in demand for quality tax professionals within the UK market.

We speak to Jonny Morton, Senior Tax Consultant at Robert Walters, who shares his insights on the top four trends in the UK tax recruitment market.

 

Base salary increase

Year-on-year, market trends have shown an increase in salaries across the UK tax market for newly qualified professionals, particularly for those in mid-to-senior level positions.

Increases in base salaries is a key trend in the UK’s tax recruitment market, particularly for those making their first career move to an in-house tax position. 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 comments, “the majority of businesses that we work with are happy to pay at least a £60k base salary for qualified tax professionals, so if you are languishing in the mid-fifties, there should be plenty of opportunity available for an uplift”.

Tax managers in demand

Management level professionals continue to be in demand across the tax industry, with highly competitive salaries for those looking to move jobs. The statistics tell a similar story to the base salaries, with the majority of businesses hiring at the manager level, looking for candidates with  seven and fifteen years working in the industry.

Corporate Tax roles continue to dominate the market, but 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."

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

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, with clients favouring junior professionals that can offer a broad range of skill sets and fresh approach to internal processes and systems. Showing drive and a desire to broaden your knowledge is essential for standing out amongst other professioanls trying for the same position as you.”

Tax focus skills

Corporate Tax roles continue to dominate the market, but 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. Taking on opportunities that offer you broader exposure to the tax function can place you well for your next role; it is an essential quality for those who aim for senior positions within the industry. Any Head of Tax professional 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 that “tax professionals consider 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

Jonny believes that “With the additional regulation and legislation that the financial services industry is scrutinised by, businesses are choosing 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 noticeably strong trends in 2018 where employers are more interested in professionals with technical tax skills than the sector they have previously worked in.

“Junior or newly qualified professionals should opt for experience across various parts of tax, to help put them in a stronger position within the market, making them more desirable to tax hiring managers. Don’t be deterred from taking on a job that doesn’t necessary tick all the boxes first time round, as the experience you build up will be invaluable to future employers. We see plenty of tax professionals making the move back into the accountancy firms later in their career, should they decide that an in-house role is not for them.”

 

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 career advice contact Jonny Morton at Jonny.Morton@robertwalters.com or +44 (0) 207 509 8488.

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