Chandler Macleod’s Accounting Employment Market Update provides insight on job market conditions, permanent and contract pay rates and employment trends within the sector. With years of local knowledge and experience in their respective areas of expertise, our specialist accounting recruiters have a deep understanding of their market, the roles they recruit and current pay rates.
National Accounting Employment Market Update
Nationally, we are seeing significant accounting job market volatility as the Australian economy continues to transition from mining to a broader service-based economy. Over the last 12 months we have seen many organisations restructure to realign to the evolving corporate market place. Despite this, many organisations are facing stringent controls on operating costs, productivity and efficiency improvements which is impacting medium-long term workforce planning.
We are seeing demand for Finance Managers, Business Systems Analysts, Cost Accountants, Assistant Accountants, Financial Analysts and Payroll Officers across most states which will intensify during EOFY. Generally there is high demand for qualified finance professionals with local market experience and a proven track record of working collaboratively across organisations, identifying cost savings and embracing digital technology innovations to achieve business goals. These qualified ‘in-demand’ finance and accounting candidates, with perceived niche skills, will continue to enjoy greater permanent career opportunities as the war for talent intensifies. Employers looking to attract top talent should be prepared to leverage the power of their brand and make a compelling financial offer to secure top talent.
As employers remain challenged to plan for the longer term, we can expect to see the continued trend of fixed-term contract roles aligned to specific company projects and initiatives. Most accounting and finance candidates have become accustomed to working in this fashion and the trend is set to continue into late 2016. Organisations looking to retain top high performers and emerging leaders will need to identify and build clear career pathways.
New South Wales Accounting Employment Market Update
The New South Wales accounting employment market is strong across the board with steady demand for both chartered and commercial candidates. We are seeing a very reactive chartered market compounded by EOFY activity and sustained mid-level turnover. On the other hand, the commercial market is in a high recruitment phase across a variety of specialisms.
Demand for experienced Business Analysts is high and employers are generally favouring candidates with SAP, Oracle and/or Pronto expertise. We are also seeing an on-going shortage of Chartered Accountants as the higher salaries and stronger EVP of commercial roles continue to appeal to mid-level candidates. With cost efficiencies and productivity a priority, many organisations are moving towards centralised shared services models for finance and admin functions, this is driving high numbers of Accounts Payable and Payroll candidates back into the market.
Given the timing of the federal election over EOFY peak season, we anticipate little to no impact on hiring decisions with both commercial and chartered organisations requiring the usual level of temporary finance support. Over the coming months we expect demand to increase in the civil infrastructure sector as a number of Government funded projects commence.
Victoria Accounting Employment Market Update
A lack of candidates with niche and technical expertise is impacting Victoria’s accounting job market with CFOs generally struggling to find suitable accounting and finance talent. This is compounded by increasing demand as a significant number of Australian companies look to further strengthen their finance and accounting teams in 2016.
We are currently seeing demand for accounting and finance candidates with a proven track record, outstanding business acumen and the ability to contribute to the success of the organisation. Professionals with experience working with business intelligence tools or financial software packages, such as ERP, are at the top of the hiring list for many of our clients. We are also seeing high demand for Finance Managers, Business Analysts, Financial Accountants, Assistant Accountants, Payroll Officers and Accounts Receivable/Payable.
The CA and CPA designations remain the gold standard of post-graduate qualifications for accounting professionals, giving candidates a clear competitive edge. We are also seeing increasing demand for soft skills, particularly leadership skills and the ability to communicate financial information to stakeholders who have no financial background. Candidates who tick the boxes for both hard and soft skills are in a commanding position as employers are willing to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract and retain them.
Queensland Accounting Employment Market Update
The Queensland accounting employment market has been steadily growing since November 2015 with an increasing number of mid-senior permanent roles being approved. This has largely been due to many organisations approving budget for new FTE head count, however we are also seeing vacancies created as a result of organisational restructures across many sectors. As confidence returned to the Brisbane commercial market, we have seen renewed enthusiasm for candidates to be moved through the recruitment process faster as companies look to fill vacancies swiftly.
Generally, we are seeing supply outstrip demand with most advertised roles receiving a high level of interest in the Brisbane market; however, there remains a shortage of good taxation accountants. Finance Business Partners are in high demand as organisations look for candidates who can work with non-financial stakeholders to understand business operations and add value through cost savings or efficiency creation. We are also seeing a trend towards temporary opportunities in the clerical accounting market as organisations strive to ensure their transactional processing workforce is scalable to align with workflow.
We expect conditions to steadily improve over coming months and anticipate the standard peak in activity over EOFY despite the timing of the federal election. While it is set to remain an employer’s market for some time, finding the right cultural fit and specific skill set can be challenging. Organisations looking to attract quality talent with strong reporting, taxation or public practice experience will need to offer attractive salary packages and embrace headhunting passive candidates.
Western Australia Accounting Employment Market Update
In Western Australia, the accounting job market remains quite static with employers preferring to upskill existing staff rather than hiring. This has meant no change in permanent salaries and a preference for stability with highly experienced professionals becoming job seekers. These passive candidates are less likely to respond to advertisements but are open to direct contact from recruiters. In the temporary space we have seen a return to more ‘traditional’ assignments – short to medium term leave cover, long term maternity leave positions, and ‘peak period’ cover such as EOFY support. Temporary candidates are experiencing a drop in hourly rates of up to 30%.
We continue to see demand for experienced payroll candidates driven in part by considerable turnover in this area recently. Senior Analysts are also highly regarded by the market for both half-yearly and EOFY periods, along with future planning. On the flip side, redundancies in the mining space across mid to superintendent level roles has resulted in a surplus of operational candidates.
Despite expectation that large scale redundancies in the Western Australian market would result in a large number of high quality candidates applying or available for temporary roles, this has not been the case. Growth in the not-for-profit and health sectors has mostly absorbed these candidates, with on-going activity in the construction sector also contributing to demand. We expect these sectors to continue to require experienced talent and anticipate employers who have made heavy cuts likely re-engage mid-level roles as the market improves, albeit at a much lower rate.
South Australia Accounting Employment Market Update
After a strong start to 2016, the South Australian accounting employment market has slowed considerably with activity expected to remain static over coming months. Despite this, we are anticipating a small increase in availability of temporary roles to support EOFY activity. The federal election is also expected to increase demand for temporary accounting and finance talent.
We are currently seeing demand for Payroll, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable talent, with recent government experience highly regarded. Candidates with strong SAP experience are also highly sought after. We are also anticipating growing demand for Accountants and Analysts with mining expertise as BHP forecasts an increase in activity.
Salary remains the primary motivator of candidates and we are seeing candidates decline job offers if the salary package is not higher than their current package. We are also seeing candidates increasingly prioritise other benefits such as flexible work hours, car allowances and bonus structures.
Click the link below to view the full Accounting Employment Market Update and salary data for accounting roles.