The New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to question what the future might bring. For tax and accounting professionals, it appears that the coming year could be the perfect time to consider advancing your career. With almost all aspects of this industry improving and the overall economic health of the country at a peak, it could be the ideal time to find that job of your dreams.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced in November this year, that the unemployment rate in the UK had fallen to 5.3% for the three months to September 2015. This is the lowest rate in seven years and since the financial crisis began. With more than 177,000 more people in work than in the previous 3 month period and 419,000 more than the previous year, this appears to be very good news.
The ONS reported that this shows a strengthening trend in the labour market and this was further reflected in wage levels which had seen a 3% increase from the previous year and a 3% increase compared to the previous quarter. While the growth in wages had appeared to slow overall it was favourable when compared to inflation which was at less than 1%.
Unemployment figures are often based on the general growth figures predicted for the economy and the UK is hoping for 2.4% during 2016 with another million jobs being created. The ONS suggest that while there has been a decline in growth during the latter part of 2015 it doesn't mean that growth will fail to continue during 2016. Albeit in a “bumpy” fashion.
So, the UK economic picture looks good for employment in the general market. But what about the accounting sector in particular? Could there be specific growth in this industry or is it following the slow and steady path that the overall economy seems to be taking?
A report released by a national agency has indicated that the industry could be looking at a very rosy 2016 and especially if it starts to think outside the box. The 2016 Employment and Skills Outlook for Accountancy and Finance report shows that 75% of employers in this sector are concerned that they will not be able to find skilled individuals to meet their needs during the next year. This will lead to rising workloads for other staff and a very competitive market for potential employees.
Effect on salaries
When it comes to pay, the report found that wages were rising as the numbers of skilled workers fell. More than 75% of those questioned in the report felt that they would see a salary increase during 2016 and 15% of those felt they would see more than 5% more in their wage packet by the end of the year.
A further study carried out by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies found that there had been a 16% increase in accounting and finance roles currently compared to last year. Their research also showed an overall 4.3% increase in salaries across all professional careers with particular growth in the financial sector. This led to them making the prediction that those working in this industry were in a better position than those in other professional capacities.
We have witnessed an overall increase in salaries across the profession. Employers are conscious of the need to hold on to their best tax staff and are making an effort in doing so with financial incentives.
What we have seen
Our own in-house experience is that those who move jobs can expect to see anything between 7-15% increases in their salary compared to their previous role. This is certainly a great incentive for anyone considering moving jobs. But for those choosing to stay, there is plenty of scope for getting that pay increase you want.
With clear indications that the market for tax employees tightening, it is a sellers’ market. There is room for negotiation with many employers seeing that they must hold on to their staff whenever possible. We have found that employers are offering improved packages and salaries to avoid having to enter the recruitment process.
What skills and attitude are important to employers?
If you happen to a qualified tax professional with some if not all of the above talents your options will be even better.
One clear trend that we have seen in recent months and one that will continue is the opportunities that have arisen in the accounting practice sector. Our core client base is fast growing accounting practices and we have found that these firms are requiring a steady stream of talented individuals.
Overall, 2016 looks like a bumper year for tax professionals, particularly if you are an out of the box thinker. With pay rises of 3-5% for those staying in their roles and up 15% for those looking to make a move.
What to do if you want to make a move in 2016?
My team and I help tax professionals like you secure high paying tax jobs in growth driven firms. In fact this is the only kind of firm we recruit for.
While I don't know if we are a good fit for you, why don't we schedule a short call to help us learn more about your unique requirements? From there we can decide if it makes sense to set up a deeper conversation.