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Accounting and finance specialists in high demand, while generalists see limited growth

London’s investment and corporates sector has lost some of its appetite for creating new accounting and finance roles, according to Morgan McKinley's Accounting and Finance 2016 Salary Guide.


The guide showed that whilst accounting and finance generalists saw limited growth in new openings in 2015 as recruitment was focused on backfills and replacement hires, those who chose a specialisation such as regulatory reporting, product control & valuation or treasury were in high demand.


Roles within practice and commerce & industry saw an increase in job volumes due to improvements in the market and general economic confidence.  There was a rise in permanent salaries at the mid­-career level (newly qualified and above) in the order of 7­-10%.


Key Morgan McKinley UK 2016 Salary Guide highlights:


  • The Big Four, top 20 and mid-­tier firms are all looking to hire auditors. 2015 saw an increase in volume of vacancies, up 180% on 2014
  • Nearshoring: With a number of financial services firms relocating to the West Country, there is high demand for accountancy and finance professionals in cities such as Bristol and Swindon
  • Growth in the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and sustainable fund sector has led to an increasing number of roles becoming available
  • Recruitment of finance professionals within commerce & industry grew throughout 2015 with demand in retail, technology, media and professional services. Hiring in energy and natural resources was sluggish
  • Decrease in the hiring of contract and interim accounting and finance professionals with day rates having fallen by as much as 15%, while salaries for permanent placements remain stable or in some areas are starting to increase
  • Finance professionals in commerce & industry are likely to receive several job offers if they enter the recruitment market
  • Upward trend in permanent salaries at the mid-­career level (newly qualified and above) in the order of 7­-10% with accounting and finance professionals earning as much as £50K


Jon Carey, operations director for Morgan McKinley, said, “The accounting and finance recruitment market has rebalanced to where it was before the crash, with qualified accountants coming out of practice and into commerce heavily in demand.


“During the recession, demand was focused on individuals who could pick up tasks quickly, whereas now both large and mid­-sized companies are looking to hire candidates with future potential, with the ability to step into mid and senior-level management roles and will now offer towards the top of the salary bracket for this talent. It’s a candidate-driven market where it will not be unusual for jobseekers to receive several job offers. We have seen practices put forward conditional offers to candidates upon completion of exams, some almost six months in advance.


“For banks and financial institutions, salary structures remain adhered to within the larger banks and we have seen minimal flexibility in the past year. The general exception to this is within the regulatory functions. Talent shortages have driven competition for the best individuals in the market.”



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