What is the current market like for those applying to finance roles?
Every industry has been impacted by the coronavirus either positively or negatively. As you’ve probably seen on the news, sectors such as retail, airlines, tourism and hospitality have been hit hard with financial pressures, which has led to a lot of redundancies and people being put on the furlough scheme. Sectors like FMCG, TMT and pharmaceutical companies are currently performing well.

Finance roles are considered a core function of most businesses. Currently we are seeing more of a demand for more commercially focused roles such as FP&A and an increase in transactional roles. As you can imagine, a lot of companies are going to need to know how to move forward during and post-pandemic. Companies need accountants to do forecasts and analyse the information in order to show what position the business will be in 3/5/10 years’ time.
My clients have said that they’re willing to invest in FP&A roles in particular and use specialist agencies like us to help them search for high calibre candidates. There are definitely finance roles available in the market, like I mentioned before sectors such as FMCG are still actively hiring.

What requirements do employers look for in candidates when applying to finance roles?
Here are some of skills and qualities clients are currently looking for in candidates:

  • Commercial Acumen: Someone who understands how their market works and can provide insight that drives the business forward
  • Strong Communication: Able to communicate with people at all different levels, particularly CFOs, Directors and senior stakeholders.
  • Innovative: Can clearly present their new ideas to the team and influence decisions using non-financial information. Don’t depend on just numbers!
  • Strong Interpersonally: This is very important because generally culture is very important to both the candidate and the client to make sure you’ll fit in with the company’s culture. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality whilst remaining professional!
  • Do not undersell yourself: Research what the market range is or ask the consultant or HR the salary range for your role. Negotiate your salary based on your research.

What advice would you give to candidates looking for finance roles?
My first advice would be to stay positive during these uncertain and difficult times. It is difficult to land a job right now, but I suggest you do some in-depth research on the sector you’re interested in. Read relevant articles on The Telegraph, City.AM, Sky Business News and Financial Times etc.

Be more proactive with your search, rather than relying on job sites. Build your network on LinkedIn and reach out to recruitment agencies that specialise in your role. Find different approaches to finding a finance role, this will increase your opportunities.

What are companies doing to welcome new joiners to their finance team?
Businesses have been more accommodating with new joiners by letting them start work from home and being intentional in communicating with them via zoom. A client will often send a courier to deliver resources such as a laptop and starter packs to candidates. There is also a lot more reassurance with job security. Clients are being more vocal with their employees and letting them know that their job is safe.