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International recruitment for finance and accounting roles was cautiously optimistic during the first half of 2013, according to the recent Morgan McKinley trend report. Recruitment consultants responding to the survey believe that the situation is getting better; despite companies continuing to focus of replacement hiring and not in the creation of new posts.
“Despite a recent slowdown in hiring with Finance and Accounting; it inevitable that businesses continue to require skilled finance professionals with the breadth of capabilities to support business growth. As the local talent pool is insufficient, professionals located in Europe with the right knowledge base are in demand,” said Trefor Murphy, managing director, Morgan McKinley UAE.
The market in Australia has been extremely busy since early January and competition has remained high. The desired standard for candidates is high, and many organisations have resorted to head-hunting in order to find suitable high-level employees. Roles currently in demand are in general finance, regulatory reporting and cost accounting; financial projects and change management skills are likely to feature more strongly moving forward.
In China, economic uncertainty and shrinking recruitment budgets made candidates more cautious about moving jobs during the first half of 2013. This is expected to change over the coming year as potential candidates becoming more proactive. Demand is buoyant for roles in financial projects, change management, strategic financial IT systems, and cost accounting. Employers are also seeking candidates with more generalised skills in addition to specialist ones, including strategic, managerial, and communication skills.
Recruitment in France for finance and accounting roles has stagnanted as a result of difficult economic condition. Professionals in demand are those with general finance skills with a track record in financial projects and change management, together with operation IT specialists. Demand is predicted to increase in the coming year for professionals with strategic IT skills; such as analytics, business intelligence, and decision support.
In Hong Kong companies have continued to his finance & accounting professionals while other areas have suffered. This sector remained buoyant in response to the implementation of new regulation; such as Basel III and Dodd-Frank. In finance & accounting, recruitment budgets are not falling and may even be increasing. Other factors driving demand are the anticipated economic upswing, organisational changes and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations. Skills that are in demand are regulatory reporting, financial projects, change management, cost accounting, and general finance.
Recruitment in Ireland has improved considerably compared with 2012, with increases in replacements and new hires. Despite these positive signs; recruiters remain cautiously optimistic, due to the slow first quarter and only recently has the there been a marked increase in the number of open positions. The main areas of demand are change and project management, cost accounting, and strategic financial IT systems. However, the picture is far from homogenous with some sectors and businesses still implementing recruitment freezes, moving business offshore, and lengthy recruitment processes continuing to damped demand.
Skills shortages in Japan are proving a greater inhibitor on employment than economic uncertainty. Globalisation of finance functions, organisational change, and IT implementations are the main drivers of demand in the finance & accounting recruitment market. Employers are looking for candidates who offer deep knowledge and experience of accounting, together with analytical skills and ability to execute. In particular, candidates who can demonstrate project experience that has enabled them to hone their leadership, inter-departmental communication, and negotiation skills are particularly valued.
Organisational and structural changes are strongly influencing the job market in Singapore. Combined with the overall economic uncertainty and offshoring; this probably means that recruitment could get a little worse before it gets better. With recruitment budgets predicted to remain static, finance & accounting professionals are expected to stay in their current roles. Whilst lower-level positions are being moved offshore, there are still opportunities for specialists in financial projects and change management, regulatory reporting, and risk management.
General recruitment in the UAE is hampered by unnecessarily lengthy recruitment processes; however demand for finance professionals remains buoyant throughout the Middle East. The local talent pool is highly competitive and in some cases, unable to meet the specific demands of some employers, opening the door for professionals with desired skills to move into the region. Employers are particularly interested in candidates who have gained at least part of their education at western institutions.
There are some grounds for optimism in the UK; however the economic outlook remains uncertain, and predicting the impact on recruitment is difficult. The current year shows no improvement on 2012, with some recruitment professionals predicting that the jobs market has slowed further. The consolidation of functions, and lengthy recruitment processes, have had an impact on recruitment and the focus remains on replacement hiring instead of creating new positions. Demand is strongest for candidates with a strong grounding in general finance, people with project and change management skills, and newly qualified accountants and commercial analysts. Over the coming months, demand is predicted to be strongest for general finance.
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