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New growth in finance jobs

20 January 2015 Candidate Blogs
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Morgan Hunt explores what this means to employers and candidates

After five years of deep recession it’s official - the UK economy is growing. No matter how small the economic growth is at present, firms will need to take a closer look at how they are hiring because without planning for talent when employment conditions change they risk being left behind in the skills chase. 

One of the problems in relying on economic growth numbers to come out is that they are always after the event has happened. Delayed reaction could see the company’s growth plans stifled simply because the skills are not in place. 

 

So how will this play out in recruitment supply and demand for finance jobs. 

An Office of National Statistics report reveals that real wages have been dropping consistently since 2010. In general the economics of this means that the supply side of finance candidates has been stronger than the demand side from employers.  

However there currently appears to be an exception to the economics rule because despite the optimism of employers, accountancy candidate confidence and their attitude to risk is stalling the flow of finance talent coming onto the market. In other words candidates are staying put. 

With stagnant salaries (real wages have been dropping consistently since 2010) and the “last in, first out, myth”, there continues to be little incentive for candidates to dip their collective toes into the market unless a burning platform forces them to jump. Candidates are being risk adverse with their primary need, of the time, being security. 

Employers are now facing a skills shortage across many accountancy divisions. They are also retaining their exacting standards when hiring - unfortunately this bottle neck will grow until good old fashion supply and demand moves towards equilibrium.

A return to a candidate led market will mean rising pressure on salaries, golden hellos, generous share options and improved benefits to attract the best finance candidates.

 

What does this mean for recruitment?

Contractor rates are rising and permanent salary ranges are edging up which is the first indication of a tightening skills market. Accountancy candidates will not move from current positions unless there is a firm career benefit to do so. Salary packages will need to rise to attract new talent and employers would benefit from keeping a more holistic outlook on their selection criteria. 

Often the right person is not necessarily the one who has the best ‘on paper’ match in terms of industry and job experience. The recent appointment of Sir Stuart Rose, former Marks & Spencer’s boss to advise the NHS on how to improve management is a case in point. 

What does Sir Stuart have in common with reviving a ‘failing’ NHS. The answer is probably quite a lot. Stuart’s skills have been proven to be able to spot the issues in large complex organisations – a precise match for the problem at hand.

The art of recruiting often lies in identifying the underlying skills of a finance candidate. Being too focused on trying to find an exact match in keywords, phrases and sound bites does not necessarily yield the best person.

 

A change in recruitment methods will be required when finance candidates are in short supply. 

London in particular is an improving market and any recessionary loyalty will be firmly tested when competitors realise that improved benefits and packages tempt staff away.  

For more than five years employers have called the shots with the most exacting criteria and often with the added recruitment ‘cherry’ of industry sector relevance. It is now just a matter of time, but the move to a candidate led market is returning.  

Excellence needs to be rewarded and employers need to plan and factor in; that the recruitment boot is moving to the other foot and ultimately if employers persist with continuing to work as if the UK is still in recession, then it may come as a shock when highly skilled accountancy candidates pass them by. 

Morgan Hunt offer a consultative service to help you and your organisation find the kind of finance skills that will ensure the continuity of your mission. For more information email [email protected].

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