H1 2017 has been a busy start to the year for us on the contract Accountancy and Finance desk, where we have seen an increase in roles from this same period in 2016, which doesn’t seem to be the case in all industries.
H1 saw a number of the top tier banks uplifting their recruitment freezes that were in place in 2016 which led to an increase in job flow. In the early parts of the year we were particularly busy, with recruitment spanning across BAU and change areas within Finance. Recruitment slowed somewhat at the beginning of Q2, partly due to the General Election being called and Article 50 being triggered. The led to certain banks limiting their recruitment to only necessary hires and adopting a more cautious approach to any vacancies being considered.
Interestingly, in January one of the focus areas in within the financial services industry was in the accounts payable space. The roles entailed the candidate making improvements in the way that invoices, expenses and payments were processed and we believe the spike was due to higher numbers of invoices being processed in most companies.
Since then we have seen that organisations are starting to increase headcount within the strategic space, hiring business partners to focus on the future, creating financial plans and forecasts to assist with cost reductions in particular.
As can be expected there has been a lot fewer revenue focused accountancy roles compared to last year. This trend is due to the scrutiny facing the banking sector around financial performance looking at where costs can potentially be saved due to lower capital.
We predict this trend will continue throughout 2017. We have seen that a number of these finance business partner roles have been filled by some of our overseas candidates who have both consultancy and relevant industry experience and suit the temporary nature of these roles due to visa restrictions.
Candidate flow is still strong, however, certain levels are being snapped up quicker than others, with some candidates facing a longer job search. Unfortunately there is less movement in the market for the more senior/SME candidates; therefore we encourage anyone falling within this category to be proactive and use their networks accordingly to seek out opportunities. Qualified accountants with 1-3 years experience are highly sought after across the board and tend to have a variety of roles presented to them.
Candidate’s in demanding areas such as liquidity and the regulatory reporting space are in high demand across most banks we work with. Due to the specific nature of these roles they can look for higher rates and are often locked in to higher notice periods, making this a challenging piece of temporary recruitment.
Overall the market is definitely picking up going into the second half of the year on the contract side. Given how quiet H1 was in 2016 and based on the fact that the second half of last year was so busy, we are very optimistic that the remainder of the year will only get busier once the summer months have past.