Talking Tax & Treasury: Why this is an exceptionally busy spell for Tax & Treasury candidates and clients

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There is currently a strong demand for Tax and Treasury candidates. Lynley Hall, Tax and Treasury partner, offers some timely advice to clients and candidates.

As we move towards the final quarter of 2021, we are seeing a flurry of activity in the Tax and Treasury space. Indeed, at Eton Bridge Partners we are experiencing a candidate-driven buyers’ market unlike anything we have seen for several years.

What that means is that this is a very good time for Tax and Treasury professionals to be looking for their next role. It really is worth getting in touch with us to see what opportunities lie in wait.

Combination of factors driving robust market activity

There are several reasons why the market is so robust just now. The most obvious is that there is a reaction to the restrictions of last year, when companies went into survival mode and battened down the hatches in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The need for people to fill new roles was always there, but companies were not able to get approval through their budget processes. Now they are able to push ahead and make the hires they want. At the same time, the response to the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine has been positive, and Brexit has gone through and given a measure of certainty.

Meanwhile, many employees may feel they were not given the levels of support they required from their employers during the coronavirus crisis. There has been an increased focus on the general wellbeing of employees – and businesses that have treated their people with kindness will be rewarded by strong retention levels.

Those that have not, however, may see colleagues looking elsewhere. Potential candidates will be hearing about their peers moving, and the types of packages that are on offer, and may experience a touch of fear of missing out.

Hires are being made more swiftly than ever

With clients looking to make hires after more than a year of focusing primarily on survival, the result is a bustling market place where there are plenty of offers to be found.

We are also noticing that the hiring process is moving very quickly. Offers are being made within 24 hours for interim roles and a week for permanent positions, a process that previously had a lead time of two or three weeks.

One factor in this acceleration is the increased reliance on, and acceptance of, the video interview. Whereas we used to have candidates in multiple processes for whom it might take weeks to line up the relevant diaries and schedule face-to-face meetings, people are now able to race through the stages.

Early in the pandemic, people hiring would factor in extra stages of interviews to compensate for them taking place remotely rather than in person, or they would arrange a socially distanced walk in the park as a substitute for a face-to-face meeting.

But clients are now more used to the experience of having dozens of video business calls every week and, as a result, are comfortable making a hiring judgment call based purely on video interviews.

Clients should move fast to secure the right hire

Our advice to clients, therefore, is to move quickly if you have found a candidate you like. There is every chance that they are involved in multiple processes and, given the increased speed at which these are moving, a moment of indecision could prove costly.

It’s also essential to invest in the wider value proposition you are offering employees. You need to be able to offer flexibility, for instance. Many candidates we speak to are keen to get back into the office, but not five days a week.

It’s almost a given now that consideration needs to be given to the benefits of remote working, but this should be seen as part of a wider piece relating to the way employees are treated. There may be ways – and not purely financial ones – in which you can differentiate yourself from other employers in your space.

Succession planning is also a consideration that has not been front of mind over the last 18 months. However, clients should be demonstrating what their progression will be going forward – not least because this is an area about which candidates should be asking questions.

Candidates should make their choice holistically, not just financially

If you are a candidate, our advice is to consider any offers that come your way holistically. It’s essential to be clear about your motivation for making a move at this particular time, and you also want to be reassured that the role is appropriate and involves the right measure of complexity. The salary and package are important, but they are far from the only consideration.

Future-proofing your long-term prospects is a key consideration, as is flexibility. People who no longer want to make long daily commutes five days a week should be able to find opportunities that embrace flexibility in working practices, regardless of the sector concerned.

A willingness to allow greater flexibility in the working week is also an indication that the culture of your potential new employer is receptive to new ideas and working practices.

If you would like a confidential career discussion, or you are looking for Tax and Treasury professionals to join your team, please contact Lynley here.