Trainees started at firms in Q3 and training contracts were completed making it a busy time for attracting professionals, as well as trying to ensure existing employees stay.
The market for audit and advisory professionals in accountancy firms remained positive for the duration of Q3 2018. The large firms which work closely with the financial services sector and advise them on both legislative and anticipated economic changes in the lead up to Brexit have been especially busy. The very active tax market is further fuelling overall market activity with Transfer Pricing and VAT especially busy.
Opportunities for experienced professionals within advisory areas like transaction services and turnaround have also been buoyant given the much publicised collapses and challenges faced by the retail sector in particular. During the quarter, trainees started at firms and the period also coincided with the completion of training contracts - this made for a busy time in terms of attrition and attraction.
Throughout Q3, firms continued to recruit trainees and apprentices which is a further endorsement of confidence in the market. In addition to this, the Big 4 in particular have made progress to reduce the time it takes to hire for these entry level roles, allowing the new starters to make an impact on the business as quickly as possible.
As speed to hire remains a significant barrier for more experienced hires, it is as important as ever for firms to respond quickly and decisively to candidates who are interested in any available roles.
As was seen earlier in the year, the large accountancy firms are continuing their investment in regional centres, with London, Reading, Bristol and Birmingham all featuring heavily in terms of job registrations. Accountancy firms continue to experience candidate shortages, with the majority of firms encountering staff shortages in both large and general practice firms.
Flexible working solutions have become commonplace as firms are increasingly adopting creative solutions to accommodate their employees’ working patterns, as well as ensuring the accessible talent pool is as wide as possible.
We expect the job market to remain steady towards the end of the calendar year. There could be some uncertainty coming from job seekers caused by Brexit, but candidates with a strong background in excellent client service and technical competence will always be presented with job opportunities. The profession will continue to rely on candidates from outside the UK, so the ability to have this option is crucial - come March 2019, the outlook may be very different.
The general practice market is likely to experience a busy end to the year, with both personal tax and accounting teams continuing to grow and recruit.