Which trends will shape recruitment in 2015?

We identify the factors influencing finance recruitment

Talent shortages

‘The competition for top talent is the most prominent trend right now almost across the board,’ believes Paul McDonald, senior executive director, Robert Half. ‘In a continuous cycle, firms are struggling to find good people, resulting in greater competition when hiring and rising salaries. This is causing more people to look to make a move outside of their companies, heightening retention concerns and opening up more jobs that need to be filled. Savvy employers already have retention programmes in place, which gives them a leg up on many of their competitors.’

‘Talent shortages will become an increasingly prominent concern,’ says Andrew Setchell, director of accountancy recruitment, Robert Walters. ‘Despite job flows increasing, the supply of qualified professionals has remained relatively constant, driving up competition between employers to secure the best candidates.

‘However, according to a recent Robert Walters whitepaper,’ continues Setchell, ‘only around a third of businesses have a plan for managing talent shortages. Most businesses are relying on short-term strategies to bridge the gap – 41% of clients would appoint an interim or contractor when asked how they adapt to managing candidate shortages, with only 28% thinking creatively about their hiring plans, such as appealing to career development or offering flexible working.’

Regulatory compliance

‘Another factor significantly influencing recruitment is compliance,’ says McDonald. ‘With companies experiencing mounting regulatory pressures, they need professionals capable of managing these initiatives and ensuring the proper controls are in place and mandates are met.’

‘An ongoing increase in focus on regulation and reporting is driving particular demand for experienced accountancy professionals with a thorough understanding of the ever-changing regulatory framework,’ says Joss Collins of Venn Group.


‘Whereas large multinationals are relatively resilient to shifts in the economic landscape when it comes to hiring, smaller enterprises are more likely to capitalise on their improving prospects by bringing on board accountancy professionals to develop systems and streamline processes,’ believes Collins. ‘With this in mind, we can expect to see a rise in vacancies within SMEs in the coming months.’


‘In 2015 the finance department will be influenced by many trends and specifically productivity improvements will come from a modernisation of technology,’ thinks Helen Firth, senior manager, Morgan McKinley. ‘Successful accountancy professionals will take on new roles as consultants and advisers, providing performance management, decision support and similar services, with less emphasis on nuts-and-bolts functions such as computation and tax preparation.’

Reporting standards

‘Globalisation will also influence the recruitment trends in finance functions,’ thinks Firth. ‘The UK’s Accounting Standards Board has announced plans to replace all current accounting standards with a single financial reporting standard (FRS). This will reduce the volume of accounting standards from approximately 2,500 pages to 250 pages. 

‘Globalisation will require accountancy professionals to master new skills, knowledge and standards as a growing number of clients operate across borders. US bodies plan to require US companies to issue financial statements to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by 2015. Consequently, practitioners will be required to gain expertise in both the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and IFRS reporting standards.’

Political landscapes

‘For the UK in particular, the upcoming general election may have an impact on recruitment as employers pause and wait for the outcome and any associated impact on policy before hiring,’ thinks Collins. ‘In this instance, there is likely to be a spree of recruitment between election day on 7 May and the following months.’

Neil Johnson, freelance writer

"Successful accountancy professionals will take on new roles as consultants and advisers, providing performance management, decision support and similar services, with less emphasis on nuts-and-bolts functions such as computation and tax preparation"

Helen Firth - Morgan McKinley