Professional hiring index predicts finance and accounting jobs will drive Northern labour market expansion

The Professional Hiring Index for the second half of 2015 looks at hiring trends and skills shortages that are expected to impact businesses across the North of UK

  • Nearly half (43%) of chief finance officers (CFOs) predict an increase in new finance and accounting roles in H2 2015
  • Vast majority (90%) say that it is either very or somewhat challenging to find skilled finance and accounting services professionals
  • Over two thirds (65%) predict increase in finance and accounting roles driven by new projects/initiatives

Leeds, 30, June  2015 – Senior finance executives in businesses operating in the North plan to increase staff levels significantly over the next six months, according to the latest Professional Hiring Index1 (‘the index’) from Robert Half UK.  More than two in five (43%) senior finance executives across the North predict that they will create new jobs in the second half of 2015, up 15% from this time last year, while nearly half (48%) are planning to hire for vacant roles.

The continued rise in the UK hiring forecast indicates that post-recession confidence has now stabilised and steady growth is on the agenda.  As a result of this growth, there is stronger competition for accounting and finance professionals and the vast majority of CFOs in the region (90%) say that it is challenging to find skilled finance professionals today.  The main reasons for the skills shortage according to CFOs are a lack of niche, technical experts (cited by 50%), general demand outweighing supply (33%) and lowered intake of trainee accountants and/or slowed hiring during recession resulted in lack of candidates with the right skills (10%).

CFOs in the North were asked, ‘In which top three functional areas within accounting and finance is it most difficult to find skilled job candidates?’

1. Financial planning and analysis 25%
=1. Financial management and control 25%
=1. Credit and collections 25%
2. Business and financial analysis 23%
=2. Accounting 23%
3. Financial and management accounting 20%

Source: Robert Half, 2015

The majority (85%) of finance leaders in the North are optimistic about economic growth for the forthcoming year and this is reflected in predictions for their own company’s growth prospects (88%). The growth agenda is increasing headcount for the following three reasons: two thirds (65%) said they would hire to provide resources for new projects and initiatives, 59% pointed to domestic business growth or expansion and equally new market penetration, while 29% cited upgrading financial systems.  

Higher confidence among workers in the North is a top driver behind the stronger employment market, according to 40% of CFO’s, while economic climate (38%) and higher confidence among employers (33%) were also cited as helping to build momentum.

Ed O’Connell, Executive Services Director, UK North, Robert Half  said: “Northern businesses are optimistic about growth and are hiring to support growth plans. The demand for permanent and interim professionals in accountancy and finance will only continue to build over the next 12 months. Businesses in the North are seeking specialised talent with a strong track record of delivering value, which in turn is further extending the skills shortage. As we head into the second half of the year, companies who are looking to hire should do so quickly as accounting and finance professionals on the market today are often receiving multiple offers.”


Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with chief financial officers and financial directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and