Accountancy & Finance – Headlines and Market Insights

 In Accountancy, Blog, Featured

Unbelievably we will soon be in month 5 of 2021!  Hard to comprehend that it is more than 12 months has passed since the pandemic hit the UK!  The accountancy and finance recruitment rollercoaster has remained in full swing and below is a quick highlight of our headlines and market insights from the first 4 months of 2021:

  • It’s been a super busy start to 2021.  Mid-market remains extremely busy and competitive (£35,000 – £55,000 salary level).  Demand is consistently high across PLCs, PE and Owner managed businesses.  
  • Bars, Pubs & Shops are back hiring – The sectors that had been hit hardest through the pandemic are definitely back on the front foot when it comes to strengthening their finance functions.
  • Folks won’t accept a low offer!  Candidate salary expectations have held the line / increased.
  • Part Quals are hot property – Across Part and Newly Qualified markets, demand is outstripping supply particularly in more remote geographies.
  • Clients are getting their heads around remote hiring – Businesses are beginning to explore full remote working as a solution to geography / general candidate shortage and their budgetary constraints.
  • Everyone demands flexibility! – Folks increasingly expect hybrid working at every level (and to know exactly what it looks like!)
  • FD market is still quieter than usual – The activity at mid-level has not fully translated to confidence in the more senior market (£80k+)

Mid-Market Buoyancy

The need for management accountants, financial accountants, business partners and finance managers has been consistent on both a permanent and interim basis.  IR35 has caused challenges for those needing interim support but inside / on PAYE.

Beaten Up Sectors are Hiring proactively

We have experienced a significant uplift in demand from hospitality, leisure and retail sectors in Q1.  They seem keen to strengthen their finance teams in readiness of what should be a period to take advantage of. 

Salaries haven’t taken the hammering predicted

Contrary to some initial expectations, the redundancies in finance didn’t translate into a dip in salaries.  Businesses that looked to take advantage with low ball offers found themselves missing out on the talent they were hoping to hook.  Candidate expectations have remained high and have been met.

Part and New Quals are hot property.

Many businesses held off on hiring through parts of 2020.  They asked their finance teams to peddle harder and left gaps while assessing the blood on the carpet.  Most of those businesses have come back to market in Q4 2020 / Q1 2021 looking to refill their gaps.  The surge in demand has outstripped supply and businesses outside of city locations have found recruitment particularly tricky.

Proper Remote working

We have seen a market increase in businesses looking to solve their hiring challenges with complete remote working models.  We have supported businesses with head offices in areas such as London, Manchester, Preston, Lincolnshire, Newcastle and Cumbria – all of whom have selected candidates who live outside of commutable distance of their offices.  They have wrapped their minds around the home working model and have come to terms with their accountant working with them via email and Zoom.

Everyone wants flexibility.

This movement has been growing and it’s a well banged drum but the pandemic has pressed fast forward.  It is becoming and expectation rather than a ‘nice to have’ that businesses will offer some degree of blended / hybrid remote working.

FD / HoF level has been slower to catch up – although there has been increasing activity in the more senior markets.

During the pandemic if your FD left you had to recruit. So you did. The flow of recruitment at this level tends to remain steady. The compounding issue was candidate confidence / reticence to move.  FDs in a decent business seemed to opt for ‘better the devil they knew’ in 2020 – and I think we are still in the tail of that challenge.  No doubt there is pent up demand on it’s way as hopefully normality becomes more … normal.  There will always be less FD roles that FM roles but for now there is activity, but it is not at the level of the mid-market in finance.

Overall, generally speaking, very much business as usual this year! – no major slide in vacancies and high demand for talented candidates!!

Thanks as always for reading!

We specialise in accountancy and finance recruitment across the UK.  We have built a reputation for absolute honestly & expertise and for handling finance roles that may prove ‘tricky to fill’ or those requiring a high degree of sensitivity / confidentiality.

If you have recruitment needs in finance, we would welcome the chance to speak. 

01246 541 927 //

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