60% of CFOs expect skills shortages over the next year

Man in suit and glasses on laptop looking at solving the uk skills shortage accounting research

With multiple opportunities arising across the accounting and finance recruitment market, high-calibre accounting and finance experts are increasingly sought after to support business growth, address financial instability and provide vital in-house functions for businesses across the UK.

As industry developments bring new opportunities, increasing demand for top talent leads to new recruitment challenges. Over 60% of CFOs expect skills shortages this year, according to new industry research – Solving the UK Skills Shortage – Accounting & Finance.

Robert Walters partnered with totaljobs and Jobsite, surveying almost 1,000 accounting and finance professionals across the UK to gain insight into key skills shortage trends, the potential impact of Brexit in a global market, changing candidate expectations and the recommended recruitment strategies to combat skills gaps.

Download your copy of the research today.

Subjects covered in the research

  • Shortages in the accounting and finance sector
  • Competing on a global scale
  • Challenges for accounting and finance recruitment
  • Managing rising workloads
  • Combatting skills shortages
  • Creating a sustainable talent pipeline
  • Key conclusions

Key findings

  • Over half of employers anticipate facing talent shortages in 2018, with nearly 10% expecting this to negatively impact on business performance.
  • 38% of employers highlight a lack of general business skills in candidates
  • 80% of employers expect their workload to increase throughout 2018
  • The top three skills in demand are Analysis (38%), Business Partnering (36%) and Financial Reporting (29%).
  • 3 in 10 hiring managers face competition for high-calibre accounting and finance professionals

Shortages across the UK

Employers in the Midlands are the most concerned about the prospect of skills shortages, with 67% of those in the region expecting anticipating that they will be impacted following by those in London (62%) and the South East (61%).

Sought after skills

here has been a surge in demand for financial analysts over the past year, with over 38% of accounting and finance managers stating it was a focus this year, a 10% increase over 2017. As businesses are becoming more complex in terms of their finances, employers are looking for specialists who are able to forecast diverse financial scenarios and use expert decision-making skills to provide solutions which contribute to business strategy.

80% of employers expect their workload to increase throughout 2018

While 38% of accounting and finance professionals noted a shortage of general professional skills in the 2017 candidate market, more specialist skills including business partnering (36%), financial reporting (29%) and compliance (27%) are considered more important this year. 

Industry qualifications

Over half of employers (53%) consider ACA/ICAS to be the most important qualification when sourcing candidates in the recruitment process. 50% of CFOs also look for an ACCA qualifications in new hires, while 41% say they require a CIMA qualification for new roles they recruit for.

Only 6% of employers think experience is more important than possessing a qualification, compared to 11% of finance professionals who consider industry experience as invaluable towards their career progression.

Candidate perspective

Accounting and finance professionals searching for new opportunities find the jobs on offer do not meet their raised expectations. 44% of job seekers do not believe that companies are offering high enough salaries and almost 40% cannot find a company they want to work for, with factors including location, distance to travel and reputation in market deterring prospective candidates from applying for roles.

Diversifying recruitment strategies

The research highlights that businesses who diversify their recruitment strategies are likely to reach candidates engaging with emerging platforms. Strategies include posting on job boards (28%), headhunting (22%) and advertising on LinkedIn (33%).


Find out more about the key recruitment challenges accounting and finance employers are facing, industry trends and innovative strategies your business can use to combat skills shortages. Download your copy of the research.