The accounting and finance hiring world is changing significantly in 2017 and beyond. The job market for these positions is expected to remain strong – but what accountants and financial employees look for is changing, and the latest recruiting strategies are more high tech than ever.
1. The Market Opens Up for Graduates
For the past two years, demand for accounting graduates has been high, a trend that is expected to continue. Graduates with a masters degree in particular are in demand: A masters degree adds specificity that many hiring teams find valuable, since it allows them to pinpoint specific skills and experience that will be valuable to the company.
However, hiring managers should also keep in mind the value of company training and ongoing education. Demand for those with bachelors degrees in accounting is also high, especially for companies that are confident in their ability to train employees in the areas needed. Both approaches can work, depending on hiring goals – but be warned, there's a lot of competition for both types of graduates, so your compensation packages may also need a review.
2. Experience Accountants Get Restless
Another trend we're noticing is the difficulty in retaining the most talented employees in the financial field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for both accountants and auditors is expected to rise 11 percent through 2024, faster than the average across all occupations.
And here's the important note: Accountants and auditors are exactly the sort of employees to be aware of this trend, and the numbers behind it. That means that they are also more likely to notice other opportunities at competing firms, and just where to go to maximize their compensation. HR departments need to be aware of this trend too, and expect their most talented financial hires to be on the watch for other job opportunities. Beware an increase in headhunters!
3. Social Media Becomes Even More Important to Recruiters
Financial employees are no strangers to social media (in fact, their jobs are often more social media friendly than many positions), and they've quickly taken to using social platforms to explore new job opportunities. Recruiters have been quick to pick up on this trend – the vast majority of recruiters depend on social media to find new hires, with only a small fraction avoiding social platforms.
That means that the social scene is getting crowded with recruiters, and they call all run together a bit for accountants and financial advisers exploring their job opportunities. That means you need to stand out with excellent social media activity and response. It's also probably smart to talk with marketing about how to represent job opportunities more effectively on social media, and come up with a new recruiting plan for target young, online professionals.
4. Skill sets Increase In Many Directions
If you've been tracking position descriptions over the years, you may have noticed a trend pushing accountants and financial workers to do more than just quietly crunch numbers at their desks. As companies grow more holistic and look for new efficiencies, their expectations for accountants have increased – as have the skill sets that they are looking for. Many financial employees are now expected to have experience in the right communication tools, the ability to be an active member of a team, and the ability to explain reports or data at a moment's notice (to those who don't have the same degree of financial training, or any training at all).
In other words, people skills are now a key factor in hires, and your hiring policy should reflect that. Don't be afraid to improve the job description and expand the skillset that you are looking for.
5. More Cynicism About Job Perks
The age of perks is quickly passing, as the big firms are learning – and small firms should keep it in mind, too. Even graduates these days are less impressed with fancy perks around the office. As a whole, financial employees are moving more toward a monetary mindset. They are thinking more about their lives outside of work – they're thinking about buying a home, paying off education bills, starting families, relocating, and starting investments. If you want to impress them, focus on real benefits that will help cover these kinds of costs. That's worth far, far more to the average accountant than a fancy office or massage room.
6. Temporary Staffing Becomes a Widespread Solution
This is true for far more than finance jobs: According to the American Staffing Association, more than three million temp/contract employees work for staffing companies in a single week. Temporary staff has become far more acceptable – and that includes accounting work.
From internal auditing projects and new compliance regulations to sudden budget changes or business mergers, there is frequent need these days for complex temp working in accounting and finance. Current third party firms are having trouble meeting the demand, and the need for temporary and contract work is high. Explore how temp hires could help you meet your company goals.