A spike in demand across the sector with a marked increase in Commercial Finance and FP&A opportunities in the second quarter.
Hiring activity across the Accounting and Finance sector was extremely buoyant from beginning to end of the second quarter. We saw strong demand across all industries with Technology, Pharmaceutical, FMCG, Financial Services and Professional Services leading the way in terms of vacancy creation. Amongst the Professional Services firms there has been significant movement across all service lines but with accelerated demand within business consulting and taxation.
This bustling level of activity was reflected across all levels but with the highest demand for newly qualified accountants to those with around 3 years post qualified experience. Due to the level of demand, and a squeeze in supply, we are seeing companies increase compensation packages for both attraction and retention purposes.
The senior end of the market has also been lively with a steady flow of vacancies. An improvement in opportunities for Senior Finance Managers, Finance Directors, FP&A Managers and Financial Controllers has resulted in more movement at this level and some upward pressure on salaries. Many organisations have looked to increase their remuneration levels to ensure they remain competitive in retaining talent and in attracting high quality senior professionals.
Within the Tax space, there has been significant demand for professionals across the spectrum, ranging from newly qualified to senior management level. This activity has been reflected across all sectors and is expected to continue for Q3.
Looking at recent international developments, there has been some noteworthy reports in relation to Brexit. EY recently reported that 21 financial organisations & accountancy firms are expected to relocate their operations from the UK to Dublin. If this claim were to come to fruition then it’s safe to anticipate that a number of positive job announcements in accounting & finance sector in the near future.
Whilst General Ledger and Financial accountants remain consistently in demand we are seeing a surge in activity for Commercial Finance Analysts, specifically with experience in business partnering and FP&A. These roles are ranging from €60k - €70k and are accompanied by enticing compensation and benefits packages.
As mentioned previously, tax professionals are highly sought after at all levels, but we have seen a demand more prominently in Tax Managers. Companies are showing a willingness to be flexible around remuneration levels and benefits offerings in order to secure the right talent. 80k - 100k is to be expected for professionals in this space.
There has also been notable interest amongst employers in Fund Accountants and Commercial Insurance professionals with experience in Tax, Audit and Corporate Finance, as reported our May 2018 employment monitor.
Challenges and changes in the market
A talent shortage has continued to plague the industry throughout 2018, with a significant number of newly qualified professionals deciding to travel to the UK, Canada, Australia and other regions to gain work experience.
According to CPA, although the numbers of current accountants in training annually is rising, however the considerable fallout from recessionary times has nowhere near replenished. This fact is reflected in the short supply of candidates for Q2, leaving domestic firms entrenched in an ongoing battle over a limited pool of talent.
In response to this, Irish firms have been making strides to continuously improve their compensation and benefits offerings, in order to stay competitive with domestic competition and with the draws from firms overseas. Forward looking businesses are also hiring based on aptitude to learn, positive attitude and cultural fit rather than purely focus on current skill-set.
The speed of the recruitment process has can also hamper organisations when they are looking to hire top talent. Companies who drag their feet when it comes to making decisions are the ones who ultimately miss out on the highest performers. There are a wealth of opportunities on the market currently meaning that, recently qualified candidates especially, are spoilt for choice in their job hunt. This re-affirms the importance of hiring managers acting fast on talent of interest.
As mentioned previously, whilst the battle for retaining and attracting newly qualified accountants continues, we forecast that companies will continue to diversify their benefits packages and further rises in remuneration levels are to be expected.
Whilst historically recruitment activity has tended to slow down during the summer months we are not currently seeing a drop in demand at all. If anything smart organisations, that know that their competitors may slow down hiring during July and August, will keep processes moving to try and secure talent before the post summer rush that always happens in September. With recent announcements and other market commentary around the impending relocation of UK based firms to Dublin, the outlook is bright for Q3 and for the rest of 2018.