Australia’s accountancy & finance jobs market is the most buoyant it has been in 24 months. Many organisations are actively recruiting and consequently candidates are more willing to enter the jobs market in search of their next role.
One of the most active sectors is construction and property, which is experiencing growth. Businesses within this sector are increasing their headcount through both permanent and temporary-to-permanent placements.
We’re also seeing some growth in the SME market in the form of job share and part-time roles that are designed to support existing members of staff. Furthermore, as confidence returns to the SME market companies are recruiting staff who can provide greater control of their finances.
In other trends, a greater number of employers are asking that candidates undergo Excel testing. Some are also requesting an initial telephone interview in order to assess a candidate’s verbal communication skills.
We’re seeing demand for strong operational accounting candidates, particularly for SAP super users. In addition, employers are putting emphasis on candidates with analytical skills and are starting to recognise that attracting these candidates can be a challenge due to the high demand.
In regional trends, in the ACT Federal Government budgetary concerns as well as staffing cuts have put pressure on the market. However, commercial developments that are due to commence later this year or next year will create employment opportunities in the mid- to long-term.
In Victoria senior candidates are now more confident and are willing to move from one permanent job to another.
In Western Australia there has been a slight but steady improvement in permanent recruitment activity, but despite this the market remains contract focused. Analysts remain in high demand, particularly those with operational exposure, as organisations are looking to further understand the fine details of their business. Company Accountants with a broad skill set who can deal with management and have financial accounting experience are also in demand as organisations focus on growth. In addition, candidates with specific industry experience remain in demand, particularly in aged and health care, oil and gas and construction.
In terms of skills in demand for the April – June 2015 quarter, we’re seeing a high demand for end-to-end Payroll Officers and a shortage of new entrants into this job function.. Employers look for candidates who can implement change and put systems in place. They also value candidates with relevant systems experience, such as CHRIS 21, Empower, Kronos, Micropay Meridian and ADP.
Credit Controllers are also sought as companies focus on efficiencies and maximising cash flow. Demand is expected to further increase following the end of the financial year. In greatest demand, but short supply, are candidates with dedicated experience in a credit control role, who can negotiate extremely well and develop client and customer relationships. Employers also often ask for candidates with specific industry experience.
Demand has increased for temporary Financial Accountants to help with end of financial year workloads. Those who have a compliance focus and are moving from a chartered environment into commerce are also sought for mid-level roles. We are also starting to see demand for Senior Financial Accountants as a result of natural turnover. When recruiting at this level, employers look for high calibre and polished candidates with Big 4 or second tier exposure as well as several years in commerce.
As companies grow and bring in bigger ERP systems, they need Systems Accountants who can support system changes and implementations. We’ve seen a particular interest in candidates with MS Dynamics, SAP and Oracle systems expertise who can also drive process improvements.
Tax Accountants are sought by many commercial organisations that now want to keep this specialism in-house in order to reduce their external consultant costs.
Commercial Analysts are also highly sought after. Professionals who can partner with the business throughout the whole organisation are in demand. A continuing focus on analysis, process improvement, cost reduction and increasing efficiencies has created ongoing demand for candidates with strong analysis skills.
Business Analysts are in consistently strong demand as employers want to streamline and improve processes, as well as identify new revenue streams. A number of employers are also reviewing historical figures and planning for the future. Given the high demand but short supply of qualified Business Analysts, employers have begun appointing non-qualified candidates with costing exposure.
There is also a big demand for Management Accountants who can help automate processes and improve transparency. Candidates with a cost focus are also valued in response to ongoing cost pressure.
Finally, Accounts Payable staff are needed in the construction industry. In most demand are those who can complete high volume transactional processing, meet tight deadlines and balance a high volume of invoices. Employers want candidates who can add value, have a high level of data integrity and who are systems savvy. Candidates with large ERP systems experience are in particular demand.
In terms of candidate trends, we are seeing people receiving multiple job offers and there is already a shortage of candidates in particular areas. The lack of quality candidates is the main issue for employers.
Many candidates are demanding flexible working arrangements such as being able to login remotely and flexible work hours in order to suit their individual family commitments and to accommodate for childcare availability. However, candidates must be flexible about their expectations with regard to remuneration and conditions.
More so than ever, candidates must prepare a polished CV. We therefore advise candidates to take their time and thoroughly prepare their applications.