Recruitment trends - what's happening

Recruitment trends - what's happening

 14 Nov 2022

It’s been a tumultuous few months with an unsettled political and economic climate affecting the financial markets. But has this affected the tax recruitment market?

The short answer is “no”!

There is absolutely no sign that the tax market is running out of steam and vacancies remain at an all-time high.


Which firms are recruiting and what are they looking for?

Roles exist at every level so whether you are a tax assistant looking to build on your skills, or a more experienced professional looking to capitalise through a promotion move, there is still plenty of choice. Almost all professional services firms are interested in hearing about tax professionals with good experience. Whilst most firms are looking for individuals with the potential to be promoted through the ranks, there is also lots of scope for individuals who have decided that the most senior levels aren’t for them; firms need reliable and capable seniors and managers and are happy to reward those skills through decent pay rises and bonuses.


What skills are in most demand?

Given that we remain in a period of unprecedented demand for tax specialists, all disciplines are sought after. The market for corporate and private client tax specialists remains extremely strong. Individuals with good skills in niche areas are highly valued e.g. transaction tax, employment tax, R&D. As well as technical ability, companies are looking for individuals who can liaise effectively with clients and support colleagues.


What’s happening to salaries and benefits?

Firms across the board are continuing to react to the strong demand for tax specialists and we have seen above average pay rises at all levels. This has  often been accompanied by a re-banding to allow for earlier promotions e.g. newly qualified CTA professionals are now likely to be automatically promoted to Assistant Manager on receipt of successful results.

Much more attention is being paid to benefits packages as an additional tool in the battle for recruitment and retention; a good benefits package can make a huge difference. Candidates are particularly keen on those which allow them to choose whether to take a cash alternative or pick benefits that directly apply to their personal circumstances. 25 days annual leave is now standard, often with the ability to buy and sell days and many firms have introduced flexible working practices alongside hybrid working. It is no longer unusual to have core hours of 10am – 4pm, leaving you to flex working hours either side.


Hybrid working

Hybrid and flexible working practices remain critically important. Candidates will walk away from a job interview or offer if the firm isn’t offering hybrid working. Careers are now expected to fit in around home commitments/ desire for work/life balance, and employees are rarely prepared to compromise on this issue.

There is continuing demand for 100% remote working roles and although a relatively small number of employers will routinely consider this as an option, we have certainly seen more evidence that firms are prepared to flex in order to hire the best candidates.

There has been an increase in the number of firms prepared to offer a contract which sees team members working 2-3 days per month in the office. This is especially useful in those locations where roles are harder to fill, expanding the geographical area from which individuals can be hired. We’ve seen arrangements such as this working at all levels from tax assistant to partner.


Why are good candidates in short supply?

Good candidates remain thin on the ground. Whether this is because the appetite for tax advice is at an unprecedented level, the recruitment of trainees hasn’t kept up with demand, or that firms are succeeding in their improved retention policies, it is impossible to say. It is likely to be a combination of these factors and more.

Firms are continuing to work hard to attract talent but there is still plenty that can be done to improve the prospect of an acceptance to a job offer. The candidate experience has never been more important. Individuals who become disengaged with the process won’t hang around for long, and are often lost through slow, inefficient or impersonal hiring mechanisms. It is crucial to ensure that candidates are interviewed by the right people, those who can engage and inspire.



For a confidential discussion and to hear more about the market, please do get in touch with Cathy Buckley or Sharon Furbank on 020 3303 0020 or email or



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