Finance and accounting

Michael Page Finance – market review Q1 2014



London has remained very strong and seems set for further excellent growth. While healthy, the rest of the South East has been quieter, with a better performance coming from more central areas, North East, North West and Midlands - powered by the return of the SME market and a rise in public sector and not-for-profit recruitment.


Public sector has been a major growth area. Job vacancies on the permanent market have been increasing, resulting in clients competing for the best candidates who are now beginning to have multiple job opportunities to choose from. The temporary market has been driven by a greater need for organisations to develop more effective reporting, financial controls and cost management processes.
Business services remains our largest market, but has dropped back from last quarter. The other main growth sectors are pharmaceutical and life sciences and the consumer sector. Most sectors have remained fairly resilient with the technology data showing a very strong last quarter and the retail decrease probably predictable.

Levels of recruitment and skill sets in demand

Demand for newly qualifieds has remained extremely strong so there is a significant problem in being able to meet demand. Salaries are rising as a result, but while big corporations are paying more, increasingly candidates seek the versatility, flexibility and ability ’to make a difference’ that they see in SMEs. We see the difficulties in recruiting newly qualifieds as only increasing throughout the rest of the year.
Positions in excess of £100k salaries has also been a good market as organisations seek to have the right team to capitalise on growth opportunities, or have reached that stage of being confident enough to make changes. This is similar for smaller companies seeking finance directors or controllers, but at £60k+ level. Other areas of significant need include finance managers within SMEs, where the candidate market is also more active.
Chartered practice has also become very busy and has requirements at all levels to help with workload. Tax skills are in high demand within practice, but the in-house market is more subdued, as larger organisations are doing less complex tax strategy in the current political climate.
The corporate treasury market has really picked up in 2014, with increased confidence translating into newly created roles and expanding teams. There have been some interesting high profile moves at group treasurer level, while a number of positions are being created at treasury analyst/manager level as developmental opportunities. As such people with a keen interest in treasury and academic excellence are highly sought after.
The internal audit and risk market continues to be strong, with businesses recognising the need for a robust audit function as markets improve and companies grow. With expansion into emerging markets a common thread, foreign language skills are required, coupled with an astute multicultural awareness.
The temporary market has grown significantly across all areas as organisations struggle to fill permanent roles, or need cover urgently and do not have the luxury to wait through a permanent process.
We’re optimistic about what’s to come in 2014. To discuss your future finance recruitment needs, get in touch with your local Michael Page Finance team.