We’re a long way from truly realising the repercussions of 2016’s political events, but the credit management profession is showing prudence as it looks ahead. While businesses are looking to protect (and maximise) their cash position, the presence of a competent and talented credit function has never been more important.
Encouragingly, we’ve continued to see movement from both a candidate and an employer perspective. Credit professionals are confidently seeking new opportunities, while employers are focused on the need to hire the very best talent they can in this shifting business environment. Although overall recruitment in finance will likely be scrutinised throughout the year, talented credit professionals look set to retain their hard-earned status.
Salaries for credit professionals rose by 3.7% on average in the past year, with the highest increases recorded seeing this figure doubled. Findings from the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2017 report show that the average pay for credit professionals recruited by Hays Credit Management over the last year was £36,396. This is 3.7% up from 2016’s figure of £35,115.
Credit professionals see salary increases
This wage increase for credit professionals is more than twice what was seen for those working in accountancy and finance overall. In 2016, 48% of workers expected their wage to increase in the next twelve months and were proven correct. Our research suggests that 3% more of the entire sector (51% in total) received a pay rise in 2016.
Salary increases last year were not isolated to the hotspots of London and the South East as we’ve seen previously. Many areas of the UK saw above-average rises in pay in the finance profession. Credit Managers in both the West Midlands and the South West received increases of 4% or more. These increases have not just been limited to senior roles either – Credit Control Supervisors in the North West have seen an 8% rise in pay (clear evidence for a regional demand for their skills).
Robust business sentiment amongst credit employers prevails
Most employers in finance (93%) expect their business activity to either grow or be maintained over the year, with 58% forecasting an increase in activity. This figure is slightly under the national average (which was 62% prior to the EU referendum) however only 6% of businesses expect to see a decrease in activity, which is in line with national averages both before and after the EU referendum. These figures demonstrate a level of consistency in positive outlooks following the referendum, and indicate that the long-term economic outlook remains robust amongst employers.
Skills shortages and conflicting expectations
Skills shortages will continue to cause challenges in 2017. Our research saw that 75% of managers hiring for finance roles currently feel that a shortage of suitable candidates is their top recruitment challenge. This figure is slightly below the national average taken both before (77%) and after (79%) the referendum vote. In a market competing so fiercely for talent, organisations would be wise to review the efficiency of their recruitment processes, else they risk losing out on strategic hires to their swifter and more agile competitors.
Another continued trend is that credit professionals remain concerned with their lack of progression. When asked about career development opportunities, the majority (58%) of credit professionals said they felt there was no scope for career progression within their current organisation. This is a slight improvement (compared to 60% last year) but employees clearly continue to care deeply about the lack of a visible career path available to them where they are. Keeping career development high on the list of priorities is therefore more important than ever for employers. Without stepping up and investing time and money into their credit teams, employers will lose their top talent to companies better placed to help them progress.
Future outlook and recommendations
The importance of hiring and retaining effective credit managers is only increased by the economic uncertainty we face this year. At Hays Credit Management, we do not anticipate the demand for credit professionals diminishing this year. This should give workers in the sector the confidence to move, and encourages employers to offer increased and competitive salaries. Employers looking to hire in the coming year will need to act decisively, as competition for this talent (while skill shortages are such a concern) will be fierce. Those looking for the very best talent will require a clear progression map for their teams, as employees are clearly not scared to move in order to build a long-lasting career in credit management.
About Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2017 The report’s data was compiled using responses from our 2016 survey collected from across the 96 Hays offices in the UK. The findings and conclusions are based on job listings, job offers and candidate registrations. Data around recruitment trends and benefits is based on the responses of over 190 credit employees and circa 1,600 employers in the sector. A separate ‘pulse’ survey of over 200 finance employers was carried out in September 2016, after the EU referendum.
To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.