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Money talks when attracting accountancy and finance staff in a competitive market

By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance 

According to our latest Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 report, accountancy and finance employers predict a busy year ahead, with 94% expecting business activity levels to rise or stay the same. As a result of these optimistic activity forecasts, over half (56%) expect to take on new staff over the next 12 months.

Will skills shortages scupper recruitment plans?

Skills shortages in accountancy and finance continue to be a challenge, with a huge 89% of employers saying they have experienced a skills shortage of some sort over the last year. In fact, over a quarter (28%) of accountancy and finance employers say they do not currently have the talent they need to meet their business objectives.

Competition in the recruitment market for talented professionals is tough: 78% of accountancy and finance employers tell us that they have found it difficult to recruit permanent staff over the last 12 months, while 60% have struggled to recruit temporary or contract staff. As a result of this competitive landscape, salaries in the sector rose by an average of 1.8% last year, with 81% of employers increasing staff pay.

However, over a third (36%) of accountancy and finance professionals moved job last year, and over half (52%) say they plan to move over the coming year – meaning that there is a large talent pool available for employers to benefit from, provided they are able to attract and retain the best candidates.

So how do you stay ahead of the competition to attract the very best staff?

  • Salary: Money really talks for accountancy and finance staff, with 40% saying they would be tempted to move for a better salary and benefits package. SMEs are particularly at risk of losing their staff if they fail to benchmark salaries and ensure they are in line with the market. With recruitment costs proportionally higher for smaller organisations, it could work out more cost-effective to pay slightly higher salaries to retain existing talent.
  • Career progression: 24% of accountancy and finance professionals say they left their last job due to a lack of career progression. The fact that nearly half (46%) feel there is no scope for progression with their current organisation should ring alarm bells for employers. In response, employers must promote clear career paths in recruitment advertising to attract candidates with the most sought-after skills.
  • Work-life balance: Nearly a third (32%) of accountancy and finance professionals say work-life balance, including flexible working, is an important factor. While over half (54%) of employers offer part-time work and nearly half (49%) offer remote working, almost a quarter of employees (24%) are unaware of the flexible working options at their current organisation. Make it clear in your recruitment advertising that these options are available, to help attract the best staff.


To discover more insights about the accountancy and finance market, and the prospects for the next year for financial services as a whole, request your copy of the Hays salary guide.

For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.

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