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Accounting & Finance - Market Overview

Accounting & finance market overview 2021

While recruitment at certain levels flattened in accounting and finance following the initial crisis in March, candidate confidence remained strong throughout the year. Throughout the latter half of 2020, particularly in quarter four, we saw an increase in hiring volumes across the market. Now in 2021, confidence and sentiment has increased again as organisations look to 2021 to rebuild and restructure in line with market conditions.

For the release of the Robert Walters Salary Survey, we interviewed Ronan Farrelly, Accounting & Finance Senior Manager Ireland, about the future recruitment and remuneration trends in the Accounting & Finance sector:

How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact the hiring market in 2020?

While recruitment at certain levels flattened in accounting and finance following the initial crisis in March, candidate confidence remained strong throughout the year. Hiring activity was slow from March to June although demand for newly qualified ACA/ACCA’s remained similar to 2019.  The availability of talent at this level was stronger however than previous years as newly quals who had planned to travel overseas became immediately available in the local market.

Which sectors and skills do you believe to be most in demand?

Certain sectors experienced higher demand than others in 2020, in particular pharma, biotech, manufacturing, FMCG, logistics, e-commerce, payments, fintech and insurance.

Within financial services, we witnessed an increase in contract hiring on previous years as finance teams became increasingly stretched throughout the year to meet regulatory demands and deadlines. We expect an increase in demand for regulatory reporting accountants in 2021 across financial services which will be partly driven by stricter Central Bank direction.

Within commerce, fund-raising/debt restructuring skill sets have become more sought after as many organisations look at their debt burden due to the pandemic. CFO/HoF positions have also been created as more companies require strategic direction to move forward from the impacts of the pandemic.

Throughout the latter half of 2020, practice firms were busy and used the increased availability of candidates as an opportunity to fill roles that they had found challenging to fill. Hiring was spread across all service lines with audit and taxation candidates particularly in demand. We expect this to continue with increased demand in insolvency also.

Which professionals do you believe to be most in demand?

The most in demand positions of 2020 have been Financial Accountants, Financial Controllers/Finance Managers (SME’s), FP&A Managers due to the constant need for business performance data. We expect this trend to continue into 2021 although securing talent will become more challenging as retention and counter offers will be more frequent.

What do you believe will be the biggest hiring trends of 2021?

We expect insufficient flexibility regarding working from home will increasingly become a reason for changing firm going into 2021. The ability to work from home will be taken as a given for most professionals. Dependent on whether this is full time or part-time, this could open up greater Talent pools for Hiring Managers and will also be reflected in salary levels for those candidates living outside of capital cities. No two organisations are the same and no two candidates are the same, so businesses will need to spend time ensuring there is alignment with company and employee needs and objectives. 

Plan for new accounting and finance hires

Robert Walters provides access to Ireland’s most comprehensive Accounting & Finance salary and remuneration benchmarking tool. Developed in partnership with a market leading data provider, we assessed over 100,000 jobs posted over the last 12-months, to provide you with accurate data points on salary ranges and expectations for permanent and contract positions across Ireland.

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