Jump in demand and pay for accountants

Tim Wallace
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DEMAND for finance and accountancy workers increased last month, a recruitment industry study shows today, starting to reverse the downward trend of the past year.

The sector also received a boost as the majority of accountants received pay rises in the last year, a separate study showed, with many also receiving a bonus.

Vacancies in finance and accountancy were up two per cent in May, making it the only sector to record growth in demand for permanent workers according to the association of professional staffing companies (APSCo).

“Demand for some specialist accountancy skills, particularly in London, is holding up quite well,” said John Nurthen from Staffing Industry Analysts.

“To a significant degree this is being driven by the regulatory environment. Where employers can, they are still trying to squeeze additional capacity out of existing staff rather than commit to new hires.”

That demand has also been reflected in pay – the majority of accountants have received salary rises in the past year, driven by improved business in the insolvency and restructuring industry according to recruiter Marks Sattin.

Figures out today show 75 per cent of accountants specialising in the sector saw salary rises, followed by 73 per cent of transactional specialists and 70 per cent of financial analyst.

Furthermore, 60 per cent of recovery and insolvency practitioners and 63 per cent of transactional specialists received bonuses, which averaged 15 per cent of their salaries – growth which is set to continue into next year.

“The level of competition for those with expertise in this area means it’s very likely the 2012 bonus will be higher, meaning there’s currently huge scope for anyone with the right skills to significantly boost their earnings,” said Marks Sattin’s Shaila Verma.

However the backdrop is still a gloomy one – despite the up-tick in demand the number of finance and accountancy job opportunities is still down 20 per cent on the year as the Eurozone crisis hit finance workers hard.