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VAST MAJORITY OF FINANCE LEADERS BELIEVE THE UK HAS ENTERED A TWO-SPEED JOBS MARKET AS SPECIALIST OCCUPATIONS OUTPACE GENERALIST JOBS

  • Six in 10 (60%) CFOs believe competition for skilled finance professionals has increased over the last year
  • A third of finance leaders anticipate their own company’s growth will come from international expansion
  • If given extra budget,  almost two thirds (64%) of CFOs said that they would increase headcount in the next 12 months

The vast majority (84%) of finance directors believe that the UK has entered a two-speed jobs market where competition for highly skilled specialist occupations (like accounting and finance) is outpacing the general employment market, according to new research1 from leading recruiters Robert Half.  The findings come in the wake of the latest ONS employment figures which shows the number of people in employment increased by 105,000 on the quarter and by 459,000 on the year to reach 30.19 million for November 2013 to January 2014.

Phil Sheridan
Phil Sheridan

The research of 200 C-suite finance executives from companies across the UK shows that 64% of CFOs would increase headcount if they had additional budget. This rises to nearly three in four (72%) executives from large companies. Over half (55%) of respondents said they would employ between 11%-25% extra staff in their finance and accounting teams if they had additional budget, suggesting that support for UK businesses combined with business growth will contribute to job creation.  In fact, 14% said that they would need between 26% or more staff if finances would support it.

Competition for skilled finance professionals is increasingly at the heart of the hiring agenda, with six in 10 (60%) CFOs stating that the ‘war’ for skilled finance professionals has increased over the past year. This is particularly true for those businesses based in the midlands (68%) and within the public sector (65%) where it’s the most difficult to find candidates with the required skills and experience.

Looking at their own company’s growth prospects, 34% of CFOs said that they anticipate growth to come from international expansion – most true for medium-sized businesses (40%), followed by large (38%) and small (29%) companies. Growth by M&A (merger or acquisition) or domestic expansion is expected by 29% of CFOs, respectively, followed by capital investment (long term investment in plant, machinery, property etc.) at 24%.

Finance leaders were asked “Thinking about your own organisation, where will growth come from?” Their responses:

Total

Company size

  
Small
Medium
Large
International expansion

34%

29%

40%

38%

Merger or acquisition

29%

32%

24%

28%

Domestic expansion

29%

29%

22%

34%

Capital Investments ( long term investment in plant, machinery , property etc)

24%

21%

24%

28%

Diversification of products/services

20%

21%

18%

20%

Product or service expansion

20%

17%

28%

16%

Working capital investment  (short term funding in stock and debtors

18%

12%

22%

26%

Improving operational effectiveness (i.e systems and process upgrades)

12%

9%

10%

22%

Organic growth

11%

10%

12%

12%

Market share capture

11%

10%

14%

10%

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “Increased economic confidence coupled with job creation and declining unemployment rates spell opportunity for UK businesses. However, still more needs to be done as many are challenged with finding the budget to hire the requisite staff to drive business growth, yet when funding prevails, facing a shortage of niche specialists. This is resulting in higher remuneration and a virtual ‘war for talent’ within the UK industry as businesses competes for skilled professionals.”