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New figures published by UK-based recruitment company Badenoch & Clark via its quarterly review of the accounting and finance sector have shown that it is an industry “on the rise”. The first instalment of the 2015/16 report has proved that there are great things on the horizon for those operating in accountancy and finance but there is still a great deal of work to be done in overcoming the skills gaps.

Confidence is running high

The report issued earlier this week demonstrated that more than 67% of Badenoch & Clark clients are expecting to experience business growth this year, which is representative of the general feeling of optimism throughout the sector. In fact, one in five of those surveyed believe that the year has already surpassed their original expectations, which is a positive comparison to the uncertainty that rocked the sector earlier this year.

The accountancy and finance industry experienced a widespread loss of momentum during the lead up to the General Election results in May when political instability cultivated a feeling of insecurity. With this vacillation came a rise in the amount of temporary positions in favour of permanent roles that carried more financial obligation. However, stability was restored following the announcement of the results and many permanent positions were introduced once again.

A substantial 43% of Badenoch & Clark clients planned to expand their workforce during the first half of 2015 and cite this move as being one of the main contributing factors towards a widespread improvement in market conditions. Four in five seniors are expecting to either maintain or increase this pattern throughout the second half of the year, which is a clear indicator that financial security and long-term confidence is running high.

The big bad skills gap

Despite the reinstatement of the financial means and confidence needed to expand the number of permanent positions on offer, there is a distinct lack of bodies to fill them. Almost half of Badenoch & Clark clients believed (and still do) that the lack of quality candidates would become an issue throughout the year, with one in four agreeing that there is a “significant skills gap” in the accounting and finance sector.

When asked how they planned to tackle the problem, long-term solutions seemed to be a long way from their contingency plans. More than a third of senior managers across the UK said that they planned to bring in temporary resources to fill in the gaps in a bid to achieve a fast-acting resolution. However, experts are encouraging managers operating and employing within the sector to work towards long-term solutions rather than focusing their energies on short-term quick fixes.

The skills gap also means that competition is tighter than ever amongst those who do have the required expertise which have become some a sought after commodity. Those qualified professionals applying for permanent jobs are now in a position of power that is causing managers to worry about the level of salary they will be expecting. This was a worry for almost a third of those surveyed.

Badenoch & Clark, Matt Gascoigne had this to say: “I would advise recruiters to avoid complacency and adapt their recruitment processes to recognise two key points: they are attempting to recruit from a limited pool, and their offer might not be the only one on the table.”

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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