Demand was highest for client accountants where industry specific skill sets were sparse, particularly for systems, which required in-depth training and on-boarding time. Firms recognised that it was more cost effective to hire professionals commanding slightly higher salary increments with system experience and industry knowledge rather than train internally. We anticipate this strategy will be short term as the competition for a limited talent pool escalates salary increases and negates the current cost savings.
The industry experience skills gap is having a split effect on employers. Smaller firms, where the gap is having a more prevalent impact on business critical roles, are responding faster and increasing their uptake of contract and interim hires for experienced skills. In contrast, some larger organisations are continuing to lean on their current resources to cover the gap, and this is having an adverse impact on retention as workloads become unsustainable. We are also continuing to see larger real estate firms embracing contract and interim are keeping retention high as the existing workforce are not overloaded.
Economic circumstances, where firms have been reliant on financial advice, has been a catalyst to
a significant trend in the shifting role of Financial Director from back office support to strategic decision maker. This has led to an increase in salaries with more value placed on client facing Financial Directors. Consequently, as the FD role is changing, historically senior level accounting decisions and processes are being passed down to mid level and this is requiring experience as their responsibility increases.
The growth of the residential development sector
has led to a surge in demand for mid tier Project and Management Accountants. There are constraints in supply of newly qualified and soon to be qualified accountants in the development sector, and this will put pressure on employers over the next 24 months. We anticipate this shortage will fuel the rise of short term contractors over permanent staff as employers struggle to fill business critical positions. We also expect to see an increase in salaries for newly qualified accountants.
Another significant trend was the increase in candidates seeking study support and flexibility in their packages over higher salaries as work life balance and securing their future proved a more compelling tool for attraction over short term, monetary gain.
Consider hiring those without professional qualifications but might be qualified by experience.
Alleviate pressure on workloads for your existing team and avoid business critical gaps through contract and interim hiring whilst you seek a permanent candidate.
This can often motivate candidates over salary rises and ensures their commitment to your organisation for the duration of their study.
Ensure your processes are streamlined and time to hire is efficient to avoid missing out on your first choice candidates.
Integrate the team with the fee earners and make them feel a valued part of the process.