A Review of Finance Recruitment

Industry: Business

There's no doubt that 2009 will enter the modern economic history books as one of the most difficult labour markets on record. Whether you've been a redundant job seeker, prospective hiring company or simply a recession survivor (still employed but with stalled promotional and pay prospects) finance professionals have all faced their own unique set of challenges.

London, UK (PRUnderground) March 4th, 2010

There’s no doubt that 2009 will enter the modern economic history books as one of the most difficult labour markets on record. Whether you’ve been a redundant job seeker, prospective hiring company or simply a recession survivor (still employed but with stalled promotional and pay prospects) professionals trying to find Finance Jobs have all faced their own unique set of challenges.

Now we look back and, dare we say, seem to be through the worst, just how bad was it? Arguably active job seekers can lay claim to the toughest time. The volume of finance and Accountancy Jobs virtually halved in 2009 compared to 2008 figures (at just 53% of the previous year’s numbers). The jobs that were available were subject to the most incredibly tough selection processes. According to our research, nearly 1 in 10 senior accountants faced a 3rd, 4th or 5th round interview this year. Even candidates earning less than £25,000 were called for 3rd interviews – rather than the more usual two stage processes job seekers had become accustomed too.

This rigorous stance around precious permissions to recruit, whilst understandable, has created its own problems for under resourced hiring companies. Faced with, on average, a 30% increase in applications per role, firms without the internal processes to manage this increased influx have struggled to feedback – resulting in some very negative employer brand images in the market.

Finally, those who on the face of it were lucky enough to remain employed, are now often doing the work of 2 people for a smaller wage. Leading specialist accountancy recruiter research discovered 7% of accountants had to take a pay cut this year to remain in their existing role, and 42% picked up the work of long gone, more junior team members.

So what of 2010? The signs of a W shaped recession are beginning to look less likely as the economy has now experienced two months of consecutive growth. Analysis echoes this, with job flow increasing by 9% in
Q4 of 2009 compared with Q3 and this upward trend into 2010 is expected to continue. Let’s not forget, many finance departments are simply running too leanly to manage any slight up tick across existing headcount without turning to recruitment. However, organisations should continue to be mindful of protecting their employer brands as application numbers continue to be at least double that of 2008. It is paramount that standards and procedures are maintained throughout any hiring processes.

The renewed confidence that is now beginning to become apparent makes 2010 a very exciting prospect – but no one is out of the recessionary woods yet and this year will bring its own challenges.

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