Whilst 2011 was a tough year for many industry sectors and functional roles, accounting and finance remained relatively strong due to increased focus on cost control and compliance.
Highlights for 2011 included:
• In 2011 we saw an increase in market confidence. The number of fixed term and temp roles increased as companies looked for innovative ways to deliver growth.
• Towards the back end of 2011 many organisations sought forecast and budget experts for restructuring projects as economic volatility took hold.
• Process control and compliance remained top of the corporate agenda and employers shifted their focus from temporary to permanent roles as the year progressed.
We expect a degree of uncertainty to remain throughout 2012 driven by lower confidence in certain markets that will ultimately affect the UK and continued focus on regulation. Key predictions include:
• For 2012 we predict a shortage of qualifying ACAs as a direct result of the reduction of intakes in the recession of 2008. This will lead to continuing pressure in the market for newly qualified accountants. We are already seeing this lead to posts in certain key fields including financial control, financial analysis and internal audit remaining unfilled for extended periods of time, increasing salary inflation in those areas as a result.
• A level of uncertainty around the Agency Worker Regulations combined with companies demanding flexibility in their workforce due to the ongoing economic concern in the Eurozone is starting to cause a shift in the market for temporary workers away from hourly paid towards fixed term contracts. Whilst these types of contracts carry greater risk for companies, they do address their desire not to commit to permanent hires in the current climate.
• With employers looking to manage or mitigate commercial risk or liability, which we expect to continue throughout 2012 we expect demand for specialist disciplines such as tax planning, risk management and internal audit to remain high.
• We expect a shift towards online from some traditional retailers in response to the slowdown on the high street, and for the big supermarkets in reaction to the ever heightening levels of competition. We expect this to drive a demand for financial and commercial analysts as a result.
How do our predictions stack up against yours?
Tell us what you expect to see from an attraction, retention or talent management point of view in the accounting and finance function during 2012 in the comment box below: