Recruitment trends - what's happening

Recruitment trends - what's happening

 25 Oct 2021

Who would have thought that, after the previous 18 months or so, we would be witnessing one of the strongest candidate-driven markets in almost 30 years?

The recruitment and retention of talented people is at the top of the agenda for almost every business leader and HR/resourcing team, and the world of work has seen a seismic shift over the past 18 months.

So what are the current trends?


Supply and demand

There simply aren’t enough talented tax specialists to go around, and this is producing a highly competitive market. Hiring firms are having to work harder and smarter at attracting candidates, and candidates are more discerning than ever before, not only keen to ensure that the job is a good ‘fit’, but also that there is synergy in terms of culture and company values.


The candidate’s choice

The interview is now very much a two way process with candidates looking beyond glossy websites and using the whole range of social media outlets to assess what a company is actually like and what the values actually are i.e. are the polished videos and promotional material an authentic representation of day to day operations.



Speed and efficiency during the recruitment process is vital. Many candidates have been lost because firms haven’t been able to move quickly enough to offer stage. The expectation from most candidates is that the process can be completed within a 3 week timeframe. In reality it often takes double this and candidates become increasingly frustrated at slow feedback or decision making.


Personalise the process

Successful hiring firms ensure that candidates feel part of the company from the moment an introduction is made on their behalf. A speedy response speaks volumes about the firm’s interest in that individual and the efficiency of the process. Successful outcomes occur when a hiring firm understands what a candidate is looking for, lines up relevant and engaging interviewers to both talk through a candidate’s suitability, as well as engaging with the candidate, explaining why they feel their company/team can offer interesting work, great promotion prospects, a supportive team etc.


Engagement should be maintained throughout the recruitment process so that by the time the candidate starts, they already feel at home. Contact should also be high during the onboarding process and the following few weeks/months to ensure that all is going well or to iron out any concerns.



A resource constrained market always has a direct effect on salaries, and this is particularly evident at the moment. We are witnessing highly competitive bidding wars, with hiring firms pushing hard to offer the most attractive packages, including sign on bonuses.



A natural off-shoot of a scarcity of candidates is the increase in and ferocity of buy-backs, when an individual’s existing firm attempts to persuade them to stay, usually through a pay rise but also with promises of different work, accelerated promotion prospects etc. We have seen a surge in this activity, not least because all organisations know how hard and costly it will be to find a replacement. Unfortunately, the reasons a candidate was looking for a role in the first place are usually still there, or re-surface a few months down the line, after an attractive job offer has been turned down and is no longer available.


Working patterns

 Undoubtedly, one of the most revolutionary changes to the employment world has been the widespread introduction of flexible working patterns – remote or hybrid working. The vast majority of employees at all levels are looking for a mix of home and office working. Flexibility is key.



Health and well-being is front and centre after the turbulence of the last 18 months. Awareness of, and conversations around mental health are now far more commonplace than ever before. Candidates are keen to hear what mechanisms employers have in place to support the well-being of their people.


Who is in demand?

The market has never been busier with opportunities at all levels in all areas of tax. There is still a focus on candidates who have achieved or are sitting for professional exams, although this has been tempered by the heavy demand and lack of available candidates. Consequently, hiring firms have started to flex their criteria which is freeing them up to look beyond a box ticking exercise and explore the qualities and skills each candidate can bring.


Self-motivated candidates who can demonstrate a willingness to develop their skills and experience are sought after.


Areas of tax which are in particular demand include: corporate tax (all levels) compliance and advisory, private client tax (all levels) compliance and advisory (non-dom experience is particularly sought after). Niche skills in demand include tax investigations, R&D, trusts, tax technology, partnerships, share schemes and employment tax.


If you would like a confidential discussion to talk through your own circumstances and hear more about what the market has to offer in your area of specialisation, please get in contact with Cathy Buckley at or Sharon Furbank at or call us on 020 3303 0020.


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