The past year or so has seen a spike in the demand for trainees across the board, with additional planned increases continuing in 2022 as a result of accountant shortages.
Sectors such as professional services, property, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), technology and public sector organisations are heavily investing in their trainee population, in order to create future infrastructure. Demand also remains high for management accountants in the manufacturing sector, charities and retail sectors.
Technical finance and managerial roles will also be a priority for employers when hiring this year, as organisations continue to tighten financial controls.
‘As firms continue to report challenges when it comes to recruiting experienced hires, some employers are turning their attention back towards learning and development at grassroots level, bringing trainees into their finance teams,’ says Lee Owen, director at Hays Accountancy & Finance.
‘Typically, this approach will continue to be led by firms within the professional services industry and large Plcs, who have a mature process already in place when it comes to the development of their trainees.
‘However, many SMEs are now also taking this approach.’
Indeed, skills shortages are an ongoing challenge for employers.
According to Hays research, nearly three quarters (73%) say they have experienced some form of skills shortages in the past year, causing nearly a fifth (19%) to admit that their organisation does not have the talent needed to achieve its current business objectives. Additional research published by the Professional and Business Services Council and the Financial Services Skills Commission found that an average of 32% of UK firms are afflicted by shortages in financial, professional and business services skills.
Due to the fast-growing economies in countries such as China, India and Dubai, there are more demands for accountants in all types of industries like the trading, services, health, and manufacturing industries.
A consistent concern running through a recent edition of the Rosenberg Survey – an annual study of the financial performance of accounting firms in the US – is the pressure labour issues are exerting on the accounting industry.
‘The labour shortage in the accounting profession continues to have a major impact,’ the study concludes.
As a result, accountants in the US looking to move find themselves in a strong position.
Meanwhile, an emigration white paper from the South African Department of Home Affairs finds that, for every professional immigrating to South Africa, eight are leaving. Opportunities in the country and across the continent are considerable.
Many other African countries are also losing skilled professionals at a rapid rate – so much so that the African Union has drafted a 10-year plan of action to stop migration to developed countries of African professionals with critical technical skills.