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Cath Everett

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Finance talent war rages on – and set to worsen

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Although finding skilled finance, accounting and operational support professionals is already proving tricky for many employers, the skills shortage is only likely to worsen as business confidence starts to return.

 
A survey undertaken among 6,300 financial leaders across 19 countries by specialist recruitment consultancy Robert Half revealed that, while the hiring market was still in a state of flux, with many employers remaining cautious, some 29% of UK respondents were already having a hard time finding skilled finance professionals – the highest percentage for any functional area across all countries.
 
A quarter of those questioned said they were also struggling to fill auditing positions, while 14% were having trouble finding suitable candidates for compliance roles.
 
While the global focus was on taking on entry-level professionals (26%) over the next six months, a quarter were also keen to hire at the staff level. Some 13% also expected to recruit senior professionals, however, with the figure nearly doubling to 24% in the UK, while 9% hoped to find managers.
 
Unsurprisingly, however, the report indicated: “Professionals who helped their organisations navigate the downturn and have a track record of positioning firms for success in stronger economic periods will be in the greatest demand.”
 
Due to the recruitment challenges faced by UK financial leaders in particular, nearly two thirds said that they planned to increase their compensation over the next year in a bid to attract top talent. Other favoured options included investing in training and providing opportunities for career advancement.
 
Bizarrely, however, given that 83% of respondents felt confident about their company’s growth prospects over the year ahead, only 45% said they were either ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about retaining existing personnel, down from 53% last year.

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