Looking forwards as we progress through 2018, whilst many accountancy and finance employers are cautiously optimistic – many believe there are a number of challenges they will need to navigate this year.
One of the key challenges across the industry, and many others, remains to be reported skills shortages. According to our Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide, over two-thirds of accountancy and finance employers said they had experienced moderate to extreme skills shortages in the past year, which is impacting on their productivity levels as well as workplaces stress.
The worse skills shortages are, thus the more in-demand talented finance professionals become, leading to further wage pressure and fierce competition to find the necessary talent. Here are three recommendations from to help you overcome skills shortages and attract the staff you need:
Make workforce planning a key strategic priority
Planning your workforce for the year ahead and beyond is essential for every business strategy. Understanding the wide range of workforce solutions available should be a priority if you want to find the best option for your organisation.
For example, if you need a qualified accountant for a particular project, but don’t expect the need to continue for the medium to long term, consider a temp. Yet if you are continually hiring temps to deal with increased demand, a permanent member of staff may be a more cost effective solution. If you need workload support in the short-term, but expect to need more strategic support in the long run, hiring a junior, part-qualified accountant or even an apprentice and investing in their ongoing development with you may be the way forward.
Strategically balancing your short and long-term requirements as such will help you to identify the most effective strategies for recruitment, allowing you to mitigate effects of the skills shortages while continuing to meet business activity needs and fulfil key objectives.
Invest in your employer brand to compete for talent
Ensuring that you have a strong employer brand has never been more essential given how prevalent skills shortages are and how connected the world is online. Competition for candidates has intensified and employers should target their offering to appeal to the specific type of candidate they want to attract.
Having a strong employee value proposition is central to this. Salary levels need to be benchmarked accurately, while progression opportunities and training investment need to be well-promoted online, and through an interview process including face to face. Potential employees want to be able to get an insight into what it is truly like to work at your organisation. In particular, make sure you clearly publicise any benefit your organisation can offer which involves flexible working or agile working from home, as 40% of accountancy and finance professionals currently rate their work-life balance as very poor to average. Professionals who view your organisation as one which values the needs and desires of its employees will be far more likely to apply to work for you.
Re-evaluate your use of contingent workers
Employers should reconsider their approach to hiring temporary workers, with many organisations already doing so, a trend we saw towards the end of 2017 and that has continued into 2018. Instead of using temps or interims to plug gaps, add resource to key projects or react to peaks in demand, they can be used to help alleviate some of the pressure caused by increased workloads. Temporary professionals hired specifically to handle the everyday tasks in your organisation will free up your permanent staff to work on strategically valuable projects. This will allow your teams to focus on growing your organisation and help you to retain critical knowledge within your business once the project goes live, rather than risk it leaving your business with the temp or interim you employed. It also enables you to provide new development and interesting opportunities to your permanent employees, helping them to engage and feel motivated.
These three techniques will help towards planning the best course of action for your organisation. By making informed decisions, you can not only track down the right talent for your organisation, but also improve the morale of your existing employees to help you retain your key talent
About Karen Young
Karen Young, Director, Hays Senior Finance
Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.