Professional hiring index predicts finance and accounting jobs will drive Scottish 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 Scotland

  • More than a third (38%) of chief finance officers (CFOs) predict an increase in new finance and accounting roles in H2 2015
  • Vast majority (88%) say that it is either very or somewhat challenging to find skilled finance and accounting services professionals
  • Over two thirds (67%) predict increase in finance and accounting roles driven by new projects/initiatives

Edinburgh, 30,  June  2015 – Senior finance executives in businesses operating in Scotland 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 a third (38%) of senior finance executives across the region predict that they will create new jobs in the second half of 2015 and more than half (55%) plan to hire to fill vacant positions.

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 majority of CFOs in the region (88%) 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 35%), general demand outweighing supply (25%) and a lack of commercial skills (23%).

CFOs in Scotland 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 28%
2. Financial management and control 25%
=3. Compliance 18%
=3. Audit 18%

Source: Robert Half, 2015


The majority (90%) of finance leaders in the region are optimistic about economic growth for the forthcoming year and this is reflected in predictions for their own company’s growth prospects (80%).

The growth agenda is increasing headcount for the following three reasons: more than two thirds (67%) said they would hire to provide resources for new projects and initiatives, while 47% cited new market penetration  and 40% pointed to domestic business growth or expansion. The same figure (40%) stated financial systems upgrades as a reason to increase headcount.

Higher confidence among employers in Scotland is a top driver behind the stronger employment market, according to 35% of CFOs, while declining unemployment (28%), increased job creation (25%) and the economic climate (25%) are also helping to build momentum. 

Kris Flanagan, Associate Director, Scotland, Robert Half UK said: “Scottish businesses are optimistic for growth in the second half of 2015 and are looking to finance and accounting professionals to support their growth plans. As a result the demand for skilled finance and accounting professionals will only continue to outweigh supply, further extending the current skills shortage into the foreseeable future. Businesses in Scotland looking to hire will face stronger competition for talent as strong candidates in the region 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