The overall state of the job market for accounting professionals can be described as fluid, chaotic, exciting, and perhaps, at times, frightening. We are being asked daily about what is going on in the market and if there are still job opportunities out there? In light of this, I thought it would be helpful to share some of what we are seeing and hearing.
If you are an employee:
Are there still job opportunities out there?
Yes. We have had multiple opportunities in our public accounting division as well as some great roles in mining, non-profit, and manufacturing. Most of the roles we have recruited recently have been between $60,000 to $100,000 but we have not seen a lot of opportunities north of this and we have certainly had some robust negotiations with clients and candidates around salary expectations.
However, although there are positions in the market, there has tragically been a lot of accounting staff made redundant or stood down, particularly across hospitality, retail, travel, and leisure. This has resulted in the market becoming highly competitive. To see our latest available jobs, click here.
Should I be considering new job opportunities in the market currently?
Yes, but exercise caution and be smart about it.
The accounting job market is too diverse and fragmented for a simple answer. We have recruited some amazing roles over the last few months and have had more than a few candidates turn down potential opportunities purely based on the job market is too risky. Well, guess what, they missed out on some amazing, career-defining opportunities. However, we have also seen people charge recklessly ahead into new roles and come horribly unstuck.
Great opportunities still exist but do your homework. Although we are seeing many candidates being more diligent than ever, it is critical to be asking the hard questions in interviews. Make sure you can make informed decisions and mitigate your risks! You want to be asking employers:
- What impact has COVID had on your business and revenue streams?
- Are you currently claiming JobKeeper and if so, what impact are you expecting in your business when JobKeeeper ends?
- If you are still working from home, do you have good processes and systems to onboard and train new staff members remotely?
- How are you managing and communicating with your staff remotely? (Yup, we have spoken to staff who have not had a single conversation with their manager in weeks and weeks).
- How does your return-to-work plan look?
- Is this role a newly created role? (these roles are often much riskier).
Should I be targeting “safe” roles or positions that will expand my career?
If you are stepping into an entirely new type of role, it will be increasing the risk profile so make sure you are comfortable about the deliverables in the role. If something goes wrong and you end up back on the market, you may be competing against a lot of other candidates.
If you are an employer:
What is front of mind for candidates?
Do not be surprised if candidates push you harder than normal in interviews about your company’s cash flow and the security of the business and the role. We have already seen this happening with quite a few of our interview processes. Unfortunately, a lot of employees have been negatively impacted through COVID and it has created some real concerns around job security. If a candidate starts to challenge you, take it as a positive and not a negative. It shows they are serious about the role and are thinking about their long-term fit in your business.
What are you communicating to candidates about Work-From-Home?
Expect candidates to ask more questions about your Work–From–Home (WFH) policies. Almost all candidates we have had in process over the last few weeks have asked about this. WFH has become a lot more common and expected. I can’t wait to see how this plays out over the next twelve months.
What should I be thinking about to identify a great candidate?
There is often a preference to hire staff who have already worked in similar businesses, industries or on the same system. If you are going to be very specific in your recruitment process, it may still limit the candidates you get access to. However, if you are prepared to flex on things like industry background and focus on core competencies – those skills that will make someone successful in the role – you will be able to bring some fresh talent into the business with new ideas. If you are currently considering any new projects that have been on the backburner, there are more immediately available, highly competent people on the market now than six months ago so this is a great time to think about your key talent requirements.