4 factors affecting accounting and finance hiring trends in 2016

By Robert Half on 22nd January 2016

The UK economy has enjoyed something of a resurgence in the last few years, with companies becoming increasingly confident about their business prospects and hiring. The latest Robert Half Salary Guide reports on unique insights into salaries, remuneration packages for accounting and finance positions across the UK and hiring trends in 2016.

Salaries are rising

Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are predicted to rise by 2.2% on average this year. Overall, senior professionals with specialist skills will see the greatest increase, with the highest increases for accounting and finance professionals expected to reach 4%.

Higher salaries means the labour market is becoming highly competitive as companies creating new roles and filling open vacancies are vying to attract skilled accounting and finance professionals.

Skills shortage

Further insights from the Salary Guide found that 98% of CFOs are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled professional-level employees. This explains why businesses are willing to pay a premium to secure accounting and finance professionals and is one of the top hiring trends in 2016.

With professionals in short supply, businesses are under pressure to offer more competitive salaries and benefit packages, or risk losing top professionals to their competitors. It also explains why salary negotiations are becoming increasingly common when hiring.

Staff retention a concern at the highest level

While 90% of CFOs are confident about the prospects for the wider UK economy in the coming months, 87% of CFOs are worried about losing top performers from their finance team over the course of the year. This is expected to impact hiring trends in 2016 and it also puts perspective on the importance businesses need to place on ensuring their employees feel valued, able to progress and adequately remunerated. Additionally, many businesses are offering retention bonuses in a bid to secure temporary and interim professionals as they carry out extensive projects.

As the war for talent continues, many large businesses continue to rely on their brands and industry awareness to hire candidates, leaving SMEs a chance to secure and retain talent by providing attractive benefits and working environments as well as potential career development opportunities.

Soft skills also in demand

While employers will outline very specific skills and requirements when they are looking to hire for a job, they will also be looking for soft skills. Again, however, businesses are finding people with the desired personality traits, the right cultural fit, leadership, and communication skills difficult to find – this is a hiring trend in 2016 that is expected to affect businesses recruitment plans.

Many businesses are partnering with recruitment agencies to help find and identify skilled professionals who fit the profile of the job they are hiring for. Ensuring candidates will work well within a team and organisation has been highlighted as one of the biggest hiring trends in 2016 impacting businesses when recruiting for the right fit. Targeting candidates with the desired hard and soft skills can be challenging - but employers who are working with recruitment agencies are succeeding in attracting and hiring the professionals they seek. 

If you are looking to hire an accounting and finance professional, contact one of our offices for the local trends insights into the market.

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