Update on the Job Market 2019 – Finance and Accountancy

 In Accountancy, Blog, Employees, Employers, Featured, Jobs

Finance and Accountancy Job Market Summary 2019 (Q1)


The buoyant accountancy and finance UK job market has continued to remain strong through the final quarter of 2018 and into H1 2019.

Business confidence remains high and we have seen high volumes of qualified roles in both SME and PLC environments over the past 12 months+.

Skill shortages across financial accounting, management accounting and financial management have unequivocally created challenges for businesses in the UK.  Job seeker confidence (seemingly linked to exit from Europe) seems to be dipping slightly… we have felt a caution developing as individuals have started to take a more mindful approach to moving roles against the backdrop of potential economic unrest….


In our view this is creating a potential storm for clients needing to bolster their finance teams with talent. Job volumes nudging uphill, options available to qualified accountants are broad and job seeker confidence is slipping….

What is certainly common sense currently is that if you have recruitment needs in finance you should be:

–          Moving decisively – between job spec / interview / offer and start date journeys


–          Being clear about what you are able to offer to potential employees and driving comprehensive and consistent messages to the market around the brand and opportunity



–          Offering the right salary and package – low-ball offers are unwise at the best of times, in busy and tight markets they are definitely not sensible


–          Consider offering reduced or flexible hours – you will gain access to strong candidates as a result of the flexibility if you can feasibly provide it


A brief overview of more specific insight into our market and the trends we have seen over the last 6 – 12 months is as follows


–          Demand for newly qualified candidates (across financial accounting / management accounting) has remained consistently high, following the trend of the past 2 years.  There is fierce competition for candidates between finalist and 2-year PQE brackets (circa £35,000 – £50,000 level broadly speaking).  Candidates have plenty of options across various industry segments.


–          Clients are reporting finding particular roles significantly challenging to fill swiftly:



o   Financial Accounting and Reporting – coupled with the overarching busy market conditions candidates are typically leaning toward roles perceived to be more ‘commercially focused’ and those describing vogue ‘business partnering’.

o   Competition for ACA qualified individuals from Top tier practice is as fierce as ever.

o   Part Qualified positions (Assistant Management Accountant / Assistant Financial Accountant) – most businesses have adopted a policy of expecting their CIMA / ACCA studiers to repay their fees if they leave prior to qualification.  Increasingly this is proving to be a barrier to attracting candidates studying CIMA / ACCA and creating a bottleneck at this level.

o   Cost Accounting – manufacturing / engineering environments remain busy locally and there is a skill shortage appearing for management / cost accountant with significant production environment experience.  (Those that have close interaction with site facilities are often swiftly moved up into controller or business partnering roles and salaries have steadily increased in this area as a result).


–          Everyone wants to be a business partner!  It is a common joke that this job title is particularly vogue at present but on a serious note, businesses looking for ‘head down’ financial accounting and analytical roles with limited business-facing / commercial opportunity may find it exceptionally challenging to recruit and retain talent.


–          Candidate requirements increasingly include flexible working or reduced hours.  A growing tidal shift that we have seen over the past 8 – 10 years is an expectation of increased work life balance.  There is an incredibly talented pool of finance professionals at all levels seeking roles offering flexible working around other commitments such as young families.  This is an opportunity for clients able to tap into this resource pool – provided they can offer genuine flexibility.


–          Businesses that have previously been reticent to use contingency measures are being forced to utilise interim finance professionals to plug gaps whilst permanent recruitment processes are managed in the background.



We specialise in supporting businesses (single and multi-site, SMEs, PE backed and large PLCs) to identify and attract experienced and capable finance professionals.


If you have recruitment needs in your finance function (on an interim or permanent basis) we would welcome the chance to speak.



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