Q3 2019 Accounting & Finance (Commercial Businesses) Recruitment Trends
Your quarterly update on the Accounting & Finance (Commercial Businesses) market, where we provide you with insights from both the previous and upcoming quarters.
What were the market trends for last quarter?
We saw a downturn in finance and accounting hires across the property and built environment industry as a reaction to the State and Federal elections. Australians heading to the polls essentially hit the pause button on large scale government-backed projects; with so many supply chains in this space intertwined the knock-on effect is felt by all. We expect this to rebound in the coming months as the concrete begins to pour again. Elsewhere, we are seeing the usage of contractors to add value to vital areas of BAU work. With permanent hires taking longer to on-board, contractors are being used as more than just cover but are seen as a resource which can deliver immediate return value on the day to day.
What are the major skills in demand?
The biggest skill in demand is the ability of those who can take what is happening in the finance function and create a meaningful narrative as to what is happening in the business. This narrative, vitally, can enable growth and better commercial decisionmaking. The days of finance as back-office support are well and truly over.
Storytelling is the most in-demand skill as of right now. Even in technical roles, we are seeing a preference for those who can deliver meaning behind the numbers. Being able to expertly complete accounts or reports is fine, being able to tell c-suite what it means is what really matters.
What are the skill gap shortages?
We are seeing the convergence of technology and finance in more and more meaningful ways. As one CFO tells me, it is only a matter of time before they are made into one team. Finance practitioners who can utilise technological advances to understand numbers, and what this means for the business, are highly sought after.
Those with such talents can offer more complex and complete answers on both a macro and micro level. In the soon-to-be world of automation, big data and internet of things there exists a huge opportunity for the next generation of finance professionals to carve out new and exciting paths.
What are organisations doing to attract the best talent?
To attract the best talent, organisations need to be progressively evolving how they operate and answering why, and for what reasons, they exist. Offering flexible working and a genuine work-life balance is a good start. The next step is a business model which enables a company's purpose to align with meaningful social contributions. For many in the top talent bracket, it is not enough for a company to be merely successful, it has to be giving back in a way which helps to create a better world for tomorrow.
What is the outlook for the next quarter?
Unfortunately, GDP figures for Australia in 2019 have been less than stellar (only not falling into the negative due to government spending). Wider global uncertainty has fuelled a tough trading environment for business. Trade wars and Brexit aside, consumers are spending less which generally reflects an unease with how people are feeling about their financial prospects. Where there is a tightening of wallets there is less appetite for risk...this means people are less likely to take a chance on switching roles. Hiring companies need to do more in this climate to attract top talent. Employee value propositions need to be well articulated in order to entice talent into talks and balance out this new risk-reward ratio.