As we round the corner into Q4 and pick up momentum towards the end of 2019 (already, somehow), we wanted to check the pulse of the more prevalent hiring trends in the accounting and finance sectors.
While many of the hiring challenges remain the same from the onset of the year, there are still plenty of opportunities for companies looking to take advantage of the state of the market and differentiate themselves from competitors.
If you read anything about hiring trends for practically any industry in 2019, they probably begin by remarking on the talent shortage, the candidate-driven market, or the “war on talent.”
Things are no different in the accounting and finance industry. With the unemployment seeming to hit new record lows each and every month, fewer and fewer people are actively looking for work.
While it’s preferable to live during a time where fewer people are out of work than in decades prior, it still serves as a tremendous challenge to hiring managers contending with turnover and trying to fill open positions.
But having willing job seekers knocking down your office doors isn’t the only way to acquire talent in 2019—you can go knock on their office doors. Well, not literally, that probably wouldn’t be a good look.
Targeting passive candidates is a creative (and effective) strategy to bypass today’s tight and competitive labor market. Passive candidates are currently employed professionals that aren’t actively looking for a new job but would be open to a change should the right opportunity present itself.
Going after passive candidates where they spend their time online (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) is one of the better methods to pique interest for your open positions among employed (but potentially disgruntled) accounting and finance talent. Recruiters also maintain deep networks with passive candidates and can be instrumental partners in attracting top-level players that otherwise would remain invisible to you.
With talented candidates in accounting and finance being spoiled for choice today, pure salary isn’t the only criteria dictating where their careers will go next.
Company culture matters now more than ever, especially for younger professionals.
The latest generations to enter the workforce want to work for a company where their culture is real, tangible, and put in to practice beyond just the “About Us” page. They want to work for companies that communicate transparently about their unique values and goals. Companies that promote a collaborative, positive work environment, offer opportunities for volunteerism and community involvement and provide healthy lifestyle perks like a gym stipend or extended maternity/paternity leave vastly outrank the companies that don’t.
As much as the salary you offer today works to persuade candidates to join your team, the effectiveness, authenticity, and believability of your culture can be a powerful competitive advantage in such a tight labor market.
In another concerted effort to find out-of-the-box solutions to overcome hiring challenges, many CPA firms are targeting recent graduates without accounting degrees.
According to a recent study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), 31% of all new graduate hires in 2018 were nonaccounting graduates. This peculiar shift isn’t due to a shortage of accounting graduates (the number of graduates in 2017/18 is slightly below previous years), but rather the increasing role that technology plays in audits.
“[The] increased demand for technology skills is shifting the accounting firm hiring model. This is leading to more nonaccounting graduates being hired, particularly in the audit function,” according to Barry Melancon, CEO of the AICPA.
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