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Accountancy & Finance Recruitment Trends 2024

 14th Mar 2024

With 2023 behind us, we’re looking at trends that we expect to carry through into the rest of the new year. Economic growth in the UK is expected to remain stifled this year, and the labour market forecast generally is for vacancies to fall, as such the forecast for the A&F market is to proceed with caution.  

Nevertheless, permanent placements in the finance and accountancy sector increased by 17% in February showing the sector's resilience. The Office for National Statistics is reporting that business’ outlook is improving as we continue into March 2024, with 16% reporting increased turnover. This should translate to more vacancies. 

It's encouraging to see a balance among employers and job seekers. This equilibrium has resulted in stable and predictable salary levels, with most active job seekers securing roles. We’re still seeing a lot of movement in the £30,000 - £75,000 range of the market, particularly with transactional / part-qualified roles where there has been high competition for candidates and as always, newly quals, remain the most sought-after commodity. 

  • Increase in the interim and temporary market 

If economic uncertainty continues further into 2024, it’s understandable that more businesses are opting to hire interim support until things become clearer. With many transformation projects on the horizon in 2024, using interim staff to cover the shortfall until businesses are confident in their permanent hiring can be an attractive option. 

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Employers will continue to place focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in their recruitment strategies. According to one of ACCA’s recent surveys, 73% believe that a strong diversity and inclusion culture would be a key factor in deciding to work at an organisation.  

Offering a more inclusive workforce is a purpose that isn’t only beneficial but demonstrates that the company is aware of the barriers that some under-represented groups still face and is actively trying to offer equal opportunities.  

  • Remuneration  

Although starting salary inflation remained sharp in January, the latest pay increase was the softest recorded since March 2021 according to the latest Report on Jobs from REC. With overhead costs rising apace, we are seeing some businesses struggle to meet candidate expectations with budget constraints firmly in place. Overall, we believe that there will be an increase in pay across the finance sector in 2024, but not at the same levels as 2021-2023. 

  • Demand for well-rounded finance professionals 

Finance in 2024 will be more than numbers and compliance. There will be an increased demand for professionals who blend financial expertise with strategic thinking and technological proficiency. Additionally, while technical expertise is crucial, we predict candidates with strong soft skills will be in demand. Particularly those with strong commercial acumen, adaptability and creative problem-solving skills, as they can help teams rapidly adjust strategic recommendations in response to market fluctuations.  

  • Embrace advancements in technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Technology already plays a pivotal role in the accountancy sector and has improved efficiency immensely over the last 10 years. AI will continue to be a hot topic in 2024 as there are still a range of financial processes that are ideal targets for AI and Machine Learning. 

Technology is key to adding value, but according to ACCA, for some the pace of change is overwhelming, with 63% indicating that they would like more training in technology from their employer. To stay relevant, practices need to adopt a culture of innovation and staff must be trained in how to use new technologies and tools.  

What's hot? 

The most sought after roles 

The most sought after and competitive roles in 2024 are in finance business partnering, corporate finance and commercial analysis. Employers will give precedence to individuals with excellent problem-solving, collaboration and interpersonal skills. 

In 2024, green finance will command the attention of the financial markets. Despite still being in its early stages, the demand for professionals with expertise in green finance will grow. Roles including sustainability analysts and ESG regulatory reporting specialists are likely to become more prevalent. 

The most in-demand technical skills are: 

  • Financial Analysis 

  • Data Analytics 

  • Digital Proficiency; Use of Reporting Tools 

  • Cashflow Management & Forecasting 

The sectors recruiting the most are: 

  • Professional Services 

  • FMCG  

  • Technology 

  • Transport & Logistics 

The areas in which staff are hard to find are 

  • Tax 

  • Financial Modelling 

  • Data Analytics 

Where to now? 

In short, the A&F market is navigating through a phase of recalibration and uncertainty but shows signs of resilience and adaptability. As W&A have learned over the many years, market conditions can change quickly, so it’s important to stay nimble and ready for new opportunities. 


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