Opportunities rise for staff in finance sector

Demand is now exceeding supply for people with linguistic and financial skills, writes Roger Trapp

Brandon Gough, the former senior partner of Coopers & Lybrand who has emerged from the crisis at SG Warburg as the merchant bank's deputy chairman, is not the only accountant making waves in the City. Leading financial recruitment specialists agreethat increasing economic confidence is creating a range of opportunities in the financial services industry for those with the right background.

Terry Benson, chief executive of Michael Page, says: "In financial services demand exceeds supply, particularly for people with good qualifications who have worked on financial services audits."

While many of the openings for those successful in the PEII examinations, due to be announced this week, are in traditional accounting areas, such as audit and product accounting, people with accountancy training are increasingly given the chance to work in the "sexier" areas, such as corporate finance and investment analysis.

This demand is also helping to push up salaries. Top-rank newly qualifieds with special skills are being lured into banks and other financial institutions with salaries amounting to as much as £35,000 as well as the usual benefits, including subsidised mortgages and company cars. What Mr Benson calls "second-tier" candidates - those with good academic qualifications but no specialist skills - are being offered about £27,000 a year to leave public practice.

At the same time, the large firms, which cut back sharply on recruitment and almost unprecedentedly axed staff during the recession, are seeking to stem the exodus by raising salaries and offering some newly qualifieds similar perks.

Denis Waxman, managing director of Accountancy Personnel, says: "There is renewed confidence in the recruitment market, with skills shortages emerging. Demand for finance staff is going to continue to outstrip supply."

The report published last week by his organisation, part of the Hays business services group, identified four trends.

First, recruitment of trainees has grown sharply, with first years able to command 8-9 per cent higher salaries than a year ago. Second, experienced - but unqualified - staff whose studies lapsed during the recession are losing out to those who kept up their training. Third, languages and overseas experience are in greater demand than ever before as a reflection of Britain's success in exporting financial know-how around the world. Finally, the recession has taught employers the value of dynamic, adaptable financial managers as accountants break away from their "bean counter" image and play a growing role in steering their companies.

"We all now accept that accountants are playing a central role in the management of our manufacturing and trading base," says Mr Waxman, who adds that the growth of markets in Eastern Europe and the increasing globalisation of business is expanding the need for accountants who combine linguistic with financial skills.

Mr Benson says that his firm is finding such a demand not just in the large companies based in London, but also in the regions. Cantonese and Mandarin are particularly favoured languages.

This growing internationalisation is reflected in the in-creasing demand for the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants qualification. The organisation's record 25,661 students recruited in 1994 prompted the chief executive, Anthea Rose, to say, "even though qualifying as a certified accountant is not easy, more and more students are becoming aware of the value of obtaining the qualification for its international recognition and for the mobility and career development it offers".

Mr Benson is buoyed by the increased activity to talk of a prosperous year or two ahead - even if he is reluctant to suggest a return to the heady days of the mid- to late Eighties.

However, James Wheeler, managing director of temporary market specialists Hewitson-Walker, sounds a note of caution. Pointing out that those recruited for permanent posts are generally replacing people who have gone elsewhere, he suggests that the temporary market is a better indicator of confidence. "I've got a sneaking suspicion another recession is coming," he says. "I don't see the exponential growth we were hoping for in 1995."

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

    Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

    £30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

    Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable