End of Year wrap-up and 2016 Projections

2015 has been a busy year in the finance & accounting market. Overall there has been plenty of activity with some notable trends, which include:

  • Two distinct periods of intense activity between February – May/June and September – November. For the past few years I have noticed a drop in activity around the middle of the year as most teams are in frantic ‘reporting mode’.
  • There has been more demand for contract accountants this year than permanent roles. Some employers attempt to do their own recruitment and in many cases don’t find the person they are looking for after 2-3 weeks. By this time they are “staring down the barrel” of having a vacant seat as many new hires have a one month notice period.
  • Job advertisements show fairly high volumes of applicants (but not as high as previous years) but on many occasions the quality of the candidates do not fit the bill.
  • The ‘engine room’ (i.e. Assistant Accountant and Financial Accounting roles) of finance teams has seen high turnover of staff and this has resulted in more opportunities.
  • The finance management end of the market has also been busy up to around the $130-$140k mark. Opportunities at the higher end of the market have been slimmer.
  • Many people who are not actively seeking a new role are definitely interested in new opportunities. They may not be on Seek every day scouring the jobs but they have indicated to us that they are ready for a move. Consequently, approximately 70% of the placements we make at Farrow Jamieson are through our searches and networking – people ‘known to us’.

Looking forward to 2016

I see the demand for contractors increasing as many finance teams are stretched significantly in terms of resource. There is an ever-increasing thirst for data and information and the finance teams are typically the hub of much of this information.

The UK market affects the demand for recently qualified accountants in New Zealand. As the UK market is buoyant that typically means more Kiwis will head over to Europe on their OE. This leaves holes that need filling here.

It will continue to be tight at the senior end of the market as many high paying management roles have slowly given way to more hands-on analytical and systems based roles. Talented managers will always have opportunities but on the whole, supply heavily outweighs demand in the Financial Controller and CFO market. Specific industry experience is highly rated at this level.

Recruitment companies who can actively partner with their clients in terms of uncovering hidden talent in the market will be in a prime position to service their clients effectively.

Accountants who are comfortable with continuous changeprojects (both systems and processes) and have the interpersonal and influencing skills to get things done will be the highest in demand of all candidates.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I wish you a healthy and successful 2016.