As January draws to a close, it’s time to look forward and make some predictions about the coming year. Will robots finally replace humans in the workforce? Are we getting close to having a four day work week?

Join us as we explore some of the expected trends in the Accountancy & Finance, IT, business services, construction, investment and risk, and accounting sectors.

Accountancy and Finance Recruitment Industry: Scottish Accountancy and Finance Market

Similar to 2018 trends, recruitment for the Scottish accountancy and finance market remains vigorous with Lloyds, Prudential, RBS and ASI in Edinburgh and Morgan and Clydesdale in Glasgow consistently hiring new employees.

Most of these roles, especially towards the end of the year, are for accountants with experience in IFRS and group consolidated accounting. Demand for employees with regulatory reporting experience has declined due to the looming Brexit deadline. Brexit has also caused tax positions, from newly qualified to senior management, to remain in demand as companies worry about the tax implications.

Scotland also continues to show a lack of commercially focused business partnering or income-focused positions and these roles are often in England. Nonetheless, some recruitment occurred within CYB and Lloyds in January 2018 due to the re-footprinting of departments. 

Increased Salary Levels 

Due to a shortage of available candidates, permanent salary levels have started to increase. In 2018, the Big 4 firms increased the salary levels for newly qualified accountants and changed their benefit packages to enhance their candidate appeal. RBS also increased their base salaries for all staff and changed their ‘value add’ offering, which has had the knock-on effect of making their reporting and controls positions more attractive to potential candidates. 

Throughout 2019, we expect to see other companies increase staff salaries and find additional benefits to attract the best and brightest.  

Better Interim Rates 

Within Edinburgh and Glasgow, interim rates have remained strong due to a shortage of qualified applicants and contractors signing up to long-term assignments. Projects such as ASI, CYB, LBG and BlackRock are currently in the market. 

Preparing for Brexit 

Within the financial and accounting sector, asset managers are actively preparing for Brexit by making sure they have the relevant entities and places in place. However, due to the uncertainty around Brexit, deal contingency plans are being put in place for March, and many companies are currently analysing the financial impact of cross border transactions, rise in taxes and other factors that might impact their bottom line. These preparations are causing an increased need for tax and statutory accounting employees with more and more roles becoming available. 

Extensive Brexit planning has been somewhat limited in Scotland, at least from a regulatory standpoint, as most efforts are in London. 

International Accountancy and Finance Market 

The international accountancy and finance market, especially within public practice, commerce and industry, remains competitive and candidate-driven. There is a strong need for candidates with assurance, advisory (corporate finance) and internal audit skill sets.  

Recruiting with the EU 

The European Big 4 and top 10 public practice companies are only recruiting within the EU due to the complications and delays associated with securing visas for non-EU citizens. This may also negatively impact British candidates depending on the Brexit agreement and how it affects the freedom of movement.  

Regardless of Brexit, the need for accountancy and finance professionals in Europe remains strong. Germany has demonstrated an even higher demand for financial service experienced accountants, and there’s a significantly greater requirement for German speakers in Western European countries like Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Luxembourg. 

Positions in High-Demand 

  • Many companies, especially within audit and corporate finance, are currently recruiting for senior positions, such as directors and partners, in emerging market locations.
  • Commerce and industry organisations require a new breed of data analytics professionals to add value within corporate audit.

Trends in the Investment and Risk Recruitment Industry

We expect to see some exciting growth with the investment and risk sector, particularly around asset management. There are several mergers and rebrandings in the works over the next year with ASI being one of the most significant projects in Edinburgh’s recent history. Many companies, to accommodate this exciting growth, need technical BAs and PMs for various projects which have led to increased day rates for suitable candidates.

IT Recruitment Trends

As we saw last year, the Scottish technology market will continue to be competitive and candidate-driven throughout 2019. Overall, we expect to see some significant growth and changes within the IT industry, which guarantees an exciting year for recruitment.

Changes to IR35

One of the new, or relatively new trends, we expect to see this year is an increase in the number of contractors switching to permanent positions. After last year’s government crack-down on contractors and subsequent changes to IR35 laws for the private sector, many current contractors are now looking to secure permanent positions either within their current companies or at new organisations.

IR35 and HMRC changes have also resulted in higher contractor rates within the public sector and created even more opportunities within the private sector. Currently, SLC, Scottish Water and other public sector organisations are reducing their contractor numbers to comply with the IR35 changes.

Fintech vs. Financial Services

At the moment, the Fintech and start-up sectors are booming and are managing to compete against financial service companies to attract the best and brightest. Talented candidates, who previously were attracted to banks, are now considering the start-up sector as offering more career development, variety and rewarding opportunities.

To compete, some banks have restructured and are expected to go through various phases of VR. As they rebrand and become more ‘Challenger Bank’ focused, they’ll be able to attract more technology candidates.

General IT Recruitment Trends

When it comes to attracting talent, companies will need to adapt to new expectations. Over the last two to three years, candidates’ priorities have changed. Candidates are no longer solely motivated by a high salary, but now also consider the types of projects and technologies, flexible work arrangement and the company’s culture when considering a job offer.

Throughout the recruitment process, we’ve also noticed that candidates are changing how they interact with companies and job opportunities. Long gone are the days of relying only on email. Today, candidates use WhatsApp, meetup and messenger to engage with the recruitment process.

Companies and Roles to Keep an Eye On

  • Demand and competition are high for technology candidates with skills in data, cybersecurity, cloud operations RPA and AI. However, software development remains the most sought after skill set.
  • Java Development, followed by Microsoft, is the most in-demand skill in FS and SME/software market
  • Following senior hires in 2018, Morgan Stanley is expected to continue to grow and develop their technology function in Glasgow.
  • JP Morgan continues to be the most active IT employer in Glasgow
  • Clydesdale’s acquisition of Virgin Money is likely to be the most extensive integration project of 2019 in Glasgow
  • Edinburgh’s largest acquisition project continues to be the integration of Aberdeen Asset Management and SLI as well as Phoenix and Standard Life Assurance
  • CGI, Sopra, Cognizant, Deloitte and Wipro have committed to opening development hubs in central Scotland.

Business Services Recruitment Trends

When it comes to Scotland’s business services sector, we expect it to remain a competitive and candidate market throughout 2019.

HR Recruitment

HR roles are still highly sought after with many strong candidates applying for mid and senior level positions. We also expect HR analyst, HR administrators and reward & recognition specialist jobs to be in demand.

Office Support Recruitment

While administrative positions are attracting many candidates for full and part-time openings, quality may be an issue. Finding applicants with the relevant skills could be a challenge for companies during the next year. In general, we expect the recruitment market to generally continue to be active and strong.

Forecasts for Business Services Recruitment Industry

During the next year, we expect Edinburgh and Glasgow business services sector to thrive with companies like Capita HR Solutions, Scottish Gas and Royal London looking to fill a variety of positions. Among the many career opportunities, there will be a large increase in demand for human resource analysts, HR managers and administrators, specialist legal secretaries, contact centre team leaders and debt recovery advisors.

Salary levels for HR managerial roles in Edinburgh and Glasgow are now starting to increase despite some initial hesitation. Companies are discovering that these increased rates are essential for attracting employees from other UK cities and overcoming the previously mentioned challenge of finding talented, experienced applicants. Also interesting to note is the fact that despite stagnant salary levels, temporary contracts (6-12 months) in contact centres have significantly increased in Edinburgh.

Flexible Working on the Rise

Contact centres, HR and office support roles are becoming more flexible and family-friendly. Many companies have adopted flexible working patterns including an increase in part-time and home-based roles. Companies like Mitchell Edwards, John Carmichael and Turcan Connell, in the legal sector, are leading the way on introducing flexible benefits for staff members.

While flexible working appears to be a trend across the board, financial service organisations have made little progress in this area.

A Looming Brexit Deadline

Many companies within the business services sector are adopting a “wait and see” approach, which means that the looming Brexit deadline will have little impact on companies’ recruitment plans during 2019. However, companies are starting to hire more employees on fixed-term contracts as a way to safeguard against any risk.

Organisations within the contact centre sector are slightly concerned about the status of EU citizens. As this sector recruits many foreign employees, a hard Brexit could cause serious problems regarding candidate attraction and salaries after the March deadline.

GDPR Concerns

Despite GDPR coming into force nearly a year ago, many companies are still worried about these regulations and the outcomes of the future test cases. This is a particularly strong concern within the legal sector, and most HR managers seem very nervous about whether their internal procedures are tight enough to withstand test cases.

Construction Recruitment Trends

Overall, the construction industry is cautiously optimistic, primarily due to the looming Brexit deadline. We expect that the most significant growth this year will occur within both private and social housing.

The Impact of Brexit

One of the biggest concerns within the construction industry is the impact of Brexit. Companies are generally nervous about how Brexit might impact social housing and other major infrastructure projects. As many of the lower-level workers come from the EU and the construction industry is already a candidate-driven market, a hard Brexit might exasperate this situation.

Increasing Salary Levels

As a candidate-driven market, salaries are continually increasing for all roles, from general trades to senior management. Over the last five years, wages have increased by 20%, and we expect this trend to continue during 2019.

Recruit with Change Recruitment

Are you looking for qualified staff members in 2019? Speak to one of our specialist recruiters to discuss how we can help your business prosper this year. We’re experts at finding the perfect candidates.

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