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Market trends in the accounting & finance industry

Professional & Managerial
Madison Recruitment

Observing the landscape as we sit more than midway through 2016, it’s very safe to say that the accounting & finance market continues to flourish. There is a big appetite to hire all-round, but the largest demand comes from organisations seeking positions in a mid-tier, $80 to $100k bracket.  Madison has seen a 20% increase in roles at this level in the last 12 months. When you take a look at what’s happening on job boards, it echoes our experience, with the majority of advertised Accounting & Finance positions sitting within this band.

There are many interrelated factors contributing to this high demand, here are just a few:

  • We still see the traditional drop-off when Grads with a couple of years of experience depart our shores for their OE, leaving open roles behind them (whether or not this will change given recent Brexit results is definitely deserving of its own post!).
  • Generational differences play a part as Gen Y professionals, who have high skill levels and expectations to match, seek to change jobs more frequently than their predecessors.
  • Generalised growth in other industries has had a knock-on effect, meaning simply more positions are available.

With unemployment rates at their lowest in six years, it’s certainly not plain sailing for those businesses looking to secure future talent. At Madison, our focus in the mid-range is on mapping talent location in the market and building our pipeline. If you are an employer recruiting in this space our recommendation would be to do the same – or take advantage of ours, of course!

If you are a Financial Accountant, Management Accountant, Commercial or Financial Analyst or other industry professional job hunting in the $80 to $100k space, or you are looking for Accounting or Finance work within the construction industry, then you’ll have it easier than most, and chances are you’ll have a number of opportunities available to you. In contrast however, if you are at the more experienced end of the spectrum, looking for a role at $120k plus, you’ll be faced with much more competition, and will have to work that bit harder to secure a new position. The number of opportunities in this space has been increasing but at a much slower pace than the mid-range.

A recent conversation with an experienced CFO seeking contracting opportunities at the high end of the market, gave us some insight into the experiences of senior candidates:

For each role I have applied to, there’s been at least 20 other applicants, all of which have incredible pedigrees and experience. On many occasions I have found myself having to be incredibly competitive in terms of hourly rate. Gone are the days when technical capability went all the way, now it’s just as important to have the right attitude and culture fit for the environment. With all this in mind though, the general feel out there is pretty good. I have had some really meaty projects to get my teeth stuck into in the last 12 months. I really love being able to make a strategic difference in an organisation; and I’ve had some real opportunities to do this. Organisations really didn’t want to pay for this level of effort a few years ago.

If you are a candidate operating in this space, you will need to ensure you are marketing yourself effectively, and of course networking with professionals in your field. In a relatively small market such as Auckland, it’s particularly important to forge strong, enduring relationships with a handful of recruiters that you know and trust, and have relationships with the organisations you are interested in working for. When you interview with a recruiter, remember it is a two-way street and don’t be afraid to quiz the recruiter about their tenure in the industry, who they work with and how they will go about assisting you with your job search.

Whether you are a candidate or an employer, the good news is that the generally positive outlook in the market means we should continue to see growth in all areas. The bad news is the continued pressure that this growth will put on an already shrinking pool of skilled candidates in the mid-range bracket.

Market trends in the accounting & finance industry, in Auckland, and throughout the country, form one section of Madison’s inaugural Employment Market report, now released in digital format. Click here to access Madison’s NZ Employment Market 2016 reportto obtain your exclusive copy and read more.