In March, our Managing Director and Founder, Andrew Hilliard, sat down for a conversation with Phil Eckersley. Phil is an Agent from the Bank of England. To discuss the current state of the economy and recruitment industry.
Welcome to our Bank of England interview. Phil Eckersley is the Agent for the South East and East Anglia and speaks with more than 800 businesses in those regions to gauge a contemporaneous view of how companies are faring in the current economic climate.
The discussion covered a number of elements including supply and demand for labour and wage pressures. It also covered the impact covid-19 has had on the dynamics within the labour market, focusing on the permanency of some of these effects as well as those more likely to be temporary.
With over a million people having left the UK workforce throughout lockdown, there is still a great demand for skilled workers. Especially experienced workers due to the high amount of retirees. But the intense worker shortage is seen at the peaks of the Great Resignation seems to be finally settling.
Whilst discussing future predictions for the post-recession economy, it was acknowledged it would take a long time to redistribute and settle down, and in the meantime, it will drive inflation to new heights. Despite demand beginning to settle – still high, but settling – it’s likely that starting salaries will have to remain at a premium due to an increased cost of living and the still prevalent skills shortage. Accountants and firms can expect demand for their services to increase alongside the rising cost of living and inflation rates.
MARKET INSIGHTS BY MATT LAWFORD, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, AJ CHAMBERS
Accountancy Practice Market
The ‘Great Reshuffle’ is upon us, and we have seen an acceleration of talent moving or considering a role change in 2022. Many roles in the accountancy practice sector are in high demand, with the salaries for sought afterroles continuing to rise.
As ever, top talent in practice is highly sought after. We have seen this more so than ever in the audit sector. With the continued diversification of audit firms, due to the reduction in the dominance of the Big 4. As the top 20 firms strengthen their audit teams, there is a much greater demand for audit talent.
Salary is always a vital factor for job seekers. However, it is not the only factor we have seen persuade a job seeker to take one role over another. Accelerated by the pandemic, we have seen a rise in requests for roles that can offer benefits. Such as working from home and flexible working hours.
It is also worth noting that it has become industry standard to provide study support for exams. Such as ATT and CTA, including providing study leave, paying for the costs of exams. And assisting in paying back a previous employer seeking to recover exam costs. An employer who can be flexible, supports study, and offers a competitive salary will stand out in the market. And have more power to attract top talent.
Location is no longer a barrier to decision making for job seekers considering a move. We are finding that people are more likely to travel further distances to work if they only have to be in the office a couple of times a week or less and certainly flexibility is top of the agenda for most of our candidates.
There is also a paradigm shift in the employer/employee relationship, with greater demands on employers to be flexible and trust their employees. Those firms who realise this and embrace the change will ultimately be the winners.