global recruitment specialists
Accounting & Finance Market Overview
Talent pool vs. demand…
We have seen a steady demand for finance and accounting candidates in the Commerce & Industry sector throughout 2013, with a slight increase in companies hiring contractors in a renewable contracting format. This is mainly due to restrictions on headcount while providing solutions to current work demands. In addition, companies are placing stronger emphasis on candidates not just with the required skill set, but also the ideal soft skills and personality traits.
Furthermore, we have also seen an increase in more immediately available candidates. This is partially as a result of organisational restructure, but a large amount of these have been due to a change in company culture and company culture misfit. These candidates are confident about the market and believe that being available at short notice gives them the competitive edge. They are also more willing to take on longer term fixed term contract roles.
The days of senior accounting and finance executives as a support role are long gone. These employees now play a key role as a business partner to non-finance executives, providing strategic input whilst also having a need to interact with internal and external stakeholders.
From a candidate perspective, we are continuing to observe an increase in requirement for non-finance, business operation experience. Many CFO candidates now have IT, admin and some sales operations responsibilities. As a result, senior executives who want to move up the ladder should consider taking on more non-finance operations responsibilities for a future career path towards COO or MD.
Demand is also growing for candidates with a strong financial and business analysis skill set, especially in the FMCG and retail sectors. Companies are still cautious of the impact of a macro economy on rapid business expansion, however generally the outlook for the sector throughout Asia is positive, with business growth likely to continue.
Challenges in the market…
In line with the more stringent soft skills requirements and with more immediately available candidates in the market, there is no shortage of candidates with the right technical skills; the challenges are in securing candidates with the ideal soft skills and personality fit.
As a result of these difficulties the recruitment process is longer, even for contract positions. The main challenge is to manage expectations and to remind businesses not to prolong the recruitment process waiting for the ‘perfect candidate', thereby losing sight of the ‘almost perfect candidate'. Good candidates on the market with the highly sought-after personality traits may receive multiple offers and it is imperative that clients act fast to secure these individuals.
For job seekers, the importance of the right company culture is high on the priority list. While candidates are confident of the market, expectations need to be managed to ensure the flexibility to take on a job opportunity or risk staying unemployed and out of the job market for too long, jeopardising their future employment chances.
Job seekers need to stand out from the competition…
Clients are looking for candidates who can make an impact, which begins with the CV and continues all the way through the interview process.
Job seekers can work with a recruitment consultant on preparing their CV to ensure relevant achievements are provided. To stand out from the crowd, especially at the interview stage, candidates need to demonstrate not only their technical offering but also who they are, what they want and their knowledge of the company they are interviewing for. Clients are looking for candidates with ‘staying power' so potential employees need to be prepared to explain any missing ‘gaps' on the CV with valid reason and above all, go to interview with a positive mindset.
Time for social sourcing?...
More employers are using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool to save cost. Whilst this is one way to source candidates, it is also time consuming due to the time needed to verify profiles and assess a candidate's personality fit. Moreover, although LinkedIn usage is increasing, there are still a high number of candidates, especially at executive level, who are not willing to share their profile so openly. These are often hard-to-find good candidates with stable career history. For this reason the use of a recruitment agency can prove both time-saving and less costly.