Update – The Current A&F Job and Candidate Market 

 In Accountancy, Blog

What’s going on in the job and candidate market as we approach Q4???


This has been a funny old year for a lot of businesses in the UK – generally speaking, there still seems to be cautious optimism for most in terms of this year’s results and next year’s forecasts. 

But many have looked to settle into a holding pattern… looking to take a breath and plug away this year while some of the inflationary dust hopefully starts to settle.


This has steadied job flow marginally through 2023.  But it’s far from falling off a cliff. 

The peaks of job volume and demand through 2021 and 2022 were pretty unprecedented – certainly the highest volume of need that I’ve experienced in the last 15 or so years in the industry.  Job volumes have chilled out but back down to room temp from blistering!

This naturally creates a bit of slack in the system – demand for candidates is slightly less fierce but still extremely competitive.

We haven’t seen any major swathes of redundancy in our space and there’s an edge of candidate caution which is also dampening candidate availability.

Job mover expectation is still extremely high – most people we are placing into new roles are not desperately looking.  The position has to be right and the package has to work to tempt them to step over the barbed wire and onto greener grass.

Businesses that can’t offer hybrid working are experiencing particular problems.  This is a real ham-stringer at the moment and dramatically narrows the candidate pool you can put your net into.

Businesses in rural / remote locations are also finding recruitment tough this year – partly because groups offering complete remote working are now also tapping into their regional talent pool alongside their ‘local competitors’.

The market has been flooded with various Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Financial Reporting and Business Partnering positions within SMEs, PE backed groups and large PLCs. Demand at newly qualified level has been ferocious.  

This isn’t changing and while salaries pressure has hit a plateau you will need to make firm and swift offers to get these roles boxed at the moment.

There has also been very solid demand for Financial Controllers particularly in mid tier businesses in the ballpark £15m – £100m turnover bracket (salaries broadly £60k – £80k levels).  Again, organisations have had to be decisive with their processes and confident with their offers to get their person through the gate in H1 and into Q3.

Neither of these trends seems likely to change dramatically in Q4 / into H1 2024 as it stands.

Sector wise we’ve seen a notable drop off in ecommerce, retail and construction but really firm demand within manufacturing, engineering, areas of tech, non-profit and charities, consultancy and distribution.  

In summary – if you need a qualified finance professional between Management Accountant and FC / Head of Finance level it’s slightly less tough to recruit but only marginally.  

The seesaw has tipped back slightly toward the client end but probably remains a candidate’s market right now in finance.

Thanks as always for reading! Any comments or insights are always welcome!

If you have any recruitment requirements in the finance function now or in the near future, please feel free to give the team a call on 01246 541 927.


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