The accounting and finance job market has changed significantly in the last six months. It's hard to believe that just a year ago, top-notch analyst candidates were snapped up in a heartbeat, yet today, we find ourselves representing three exceptional FP&A/Commercial Analysts struggling to get a foot in the door. This serves as a powerful reminder that recruitment is cyclical and reflective of the prevailing economic climate. At present, there is a soaring demand for professionals in financial control, governance, compliance, and risk, and it begs the question: Are we battening down the hatches in preparation for the storm ahead?
With Australia's unemployment rate hovering at its lowest point in almost 50 years, recent data confirms that the labour market is highly competitive. As a result, acquiring top-tier finance talent has proven to be quite challenging. In response, numerous companies have implemented cost-cutting measures and invested in upskilling programs to better prepare for an impending recession and the ongoing shortage of skilled workers.
So, what should we be aware of, and what should we focus on to succeed?
'Rightsizing' over downsizing:
This approach emphasises efficiency and improving the productivity of existing employees rather than cutting staff. Multinational corporations will likely implement hiring freezes, while local businesses will focus on maintaining headcount and filling vacant roles.
Increased contract work:
Given the uncertain economic environment, Companies will engage contract finance talent more often to secure specialised skills, with the flexibility to scale their workforce up and down as required.
Hiring freezes will force employers to utilise contractors.
Salary as a crucial factor:
Salary will remain crucial in candidate decisions, with business leaders making every hire count. Finance professionals with in-demand skills and experience will still have the bargaining power to demand higher salaries. However, we anticipate that employees might reconsider making significant career moves solely based on financial gain.
Smaller and medium-sized companies will continue to offer higher salaries to attract top talent. Larger corporations, on the other hand, may need help to compete with their fixed salary bandings.
Overall, the good news is that we have observed salaries have plateaued. We don't think you will need to offer "crazy" salaries like last year.
While more employers will request that employees increase their number of in-office days in 2023, candidates and employees will continue to expect a high level of workplace flexibility, which may create a challenging situation for employers when it comes to attracting and retaining staff. We have seen many employers adopting two days in the office, three-from-home approach. Those in the office five days a week have needed help to retain and recruit staff.
Candidates are taking a more values-driven approach to their career choices, especially Gen Z, and will only consider organisations whose values align with their own. Employer branding and having an effective recruitment process are essential here.
We have seen candidates being more demanding than ever, with some not even interested in interviewing because of their values.
Prioritising job security:
Economic uncertainty will make candidates prioritise job security, which may contribute to a further tightening of Australia's talent pool. We have already seen those in the commercial/analytical roles putting their search on hold.
How to win at recruitment:
To win recruitment, putting yourself in the candidate's shoes and ensuring the process is efficient and straightforward is essential. Be agile during recruitment, shorten the steps, and get the key decision-makers to interview the candidate together. Companies that offer pay rises above their employees' expectations and a mix of autonomous work and hybrid working are winning in staff retention.
Global market concerns will slow hiring decisions, and companies have become more risk-averse.
We continue to observe that smaller/medium-sized companies are proving to be more agile in their recruitment processes, with the ability to shorten the interview process and make faster decisions. In contrast, larger companies may have more complex recruitment processes, lengthy interview stages, too many people involved, and back-end contract delays.
Candidates are beyond frustrated with the recruitment process. Those who engage them well win.
The demand for finance professionals who communicate well will continue. This has never faltered.
I hope this provides some insight. Here's to a positive and prosperous 2023.
If you want to learn more about Finance Talent, need salary advice or have any finance recruitment needs we can help with, please don't hesitate to contact me at 0403 513 720 or email@example.com