Tax 2016 Salary Guide

Ian Barker 25.02.2016

At Morgan McKinley, we endeavor to provide up-to-date market insight and expert knowledge on your sector. Here we offer key recruiter information within the Tax sector, covering permanent and temporary salaries across London, South West England and the Home Counties.

View our most up-to-date Tax Salary Guide.

Steady improvement with several sweet spots

Taxation is, as the saying goes, one of life’s constants so even during the downturn tax consultants, remained in demand. Therefore, while the market has improved in 2015 and salaries have risen steadily, the change has been by no means spectacular. 

Morgan McKinley has two teams serving the tax market: Business Services (tax on companies) and People Services (tax on individuals). Both desks recruit roles into professional services, commerce and industry and financial services, on a permanent and contract basis. 

Demand currently outweighs candidate supply across most areas within the larger practice firms. This is also the case at the junior end of the in-house market, but less so at the Senior Manager and Director level, where movement in the market has remained relatively slow. 

During the recession there were cutbacks in the number training contracts offered by the leading accounting practices, so there has been something of a shortage of candidates emerging out of those firms at newly qualified level and competition for talent has been fierce. Salaries have been impacted in a positive way for the peer group leaders and another knock-on effect has seen a willingness from Top 10 and FTSE organizations to interview candidates from traditionally smaller firm backgrounds, giving them a chance to step up if their personality fits. 

On the business side in particular there is a lack of people with niche skills, especially with BEPS and the OECD’s guidelines for country-by-country Reporting coming into force in the next year. As with other new regulations and guidelines, candidates who keep on top of developments, especially at the international level, will be highly sought after. 

There is a talent shortage in the Human Capital market, and candidates with experience in niche areas relating to expat tax, employment tax and international tax (especially US-UK) are particularly in demand. Social Security has also seen a number of moves between the Big 4 with inflated salaries offered for top talent in this area. The Reward space has been very competitive due to the ever evolving financial services regulatory changes. 

There has been limited international candidate mobility in the market. We received many applications from continental Europe, in particular countries whose economies have struggled such as Spain and Greece, but the difference in accountancy qualifications (typically either the ACA route or CTA route in the UK) presents a barrier. However the shortage of candidates at the newly qualified level has seen companies relax their criteria on some roles to consider candidates without prior UK experience or indeed those requiring assistance with visas. VAT and transfer pricing candidates remain the most internationally mobile.

We have seen a positive to the drive within practices to increase the level of female representation in the tax discipline but it will take time for this to work through. Current salary rates at the newly qualified level are around £45k.

Opportunities for juniors and for project specialists

Demand for contract roles is continues to be more seasonal than the permanent market. Aside from ad hoc maternity cover and project requirements, the demand was strongest around the busier reporting and tax return periods. Q4 of 2015 was the busiest period with many companies looking for additional support in advance of year end and that demand appears to have continued into January. The pool of candidates at the junior level was impacted by the demand for candidates on the permanent market, as many took advantage of the market and moving into permanent roles. However, there were plenty of candidates coming to the market at the senior level who were willing to take on more hands-on work.

On the people side contractors will generally be taken on in large numbers at year-end to work on tax returns in the first quarter only. On the business side longer engagements are more common, partly because there are more people and therefore a greater need for maternity and other absence cover, and partly because there are more temporary projects relating to changes in legislation. These temporary project-focused workers are paid a premium, because the alternative is going to one of the Big 4 practices or an accountancy firm, which is significantly more expensive.  

Newly qualified tax consultants are currently earning day rates of between £250-350. At the senior level (manager or director) a tax expert can earn around £650-£800 per day on a six or 12-month project, which makes this an attractive option compared to a permanent job, where the same person would be on approximately £120k plus benefits. Moreover, anyone who is in a sought-after niche area and who stays on top of regulatory changes will always find work. 

Permanent - London
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
Role Part Qualified
0-2 Years
Newly Qualified
3-4 Years
Manager
5-7 Years
Senior Manager
8-10 Years
Director/Partner
10+ Years
Corporate Tax 26,000-34,000 40,000-50,000 50,000-65,000 70,000-120,000 120,000+
VAT 25,000-34,000 35,000-48,000 50,000-65,000 70,000-105,000 115,000+
Transfer Pricing 26,000-35,000 35,000-48,000 50,000-64,000 70,000-100,000 115,000+
Operations Tax 28,000-35,000 35,000-48,000 50,000-67,000 70,000-100,000 120,000+
Personal Tax 24,000-34,000 35,000-46,000 50,000-64,000 70,000-100,000 115,000+
Human Capital Tax 28,000-34,000 35,000-52,000 52,000-65,000 70,000-120,000 110,000+
Temporary - London
Rate (£ Per Hour)
Role Part Qualified
0-2 Years
Newly Qualified
3-4 Years
Manager
5-7 Years
Senior Manager
8-10 Years
Director/Partner
10+ Years
Corporate Tax 120-250 250-350 350-500 450-650 650+
VAT 120-250 250-350 350-500 450-600 600+
Transfer Pricing 120-250 250-350 350-500 450-600 550+
Operations Tax 120-200 200-300 350-450 450-550 550+
Personal Tax 120-200 200-300 350-450 450-550 550+
Human Capital Tax 120-200 200-300 350-450 450-550 550+
Ian Barker's picture
UK Director - Professional Services (Taxation, Audit, Legal)
ibarker@morganmckinley.co.uk