Signs of skill shortage in finance sector

Recruiter Robert Half says competition for finance professionals is heating up.

A skill shortage may be emerging in the finance sector, according to new research by finance and accounting recruiter Robert Half that shows 84% of hiring managers are finding it hard to find skilled financial professionals.

The most difficulty has been in finding skilled job candidates for accounting positions – at 41%, an increase of 22% year on year.

The research also found 62% of hiring managers in New Zealand were concerned about losing top financial performers to other job opportunities in the next year.

Robert Half New Zealand general manager Megan Alexander says there is cause for concern.

“Employers will need to respond quickly, be more flexible, and be prepared to compromise. Top talent will get snapped up quickly as there is no longer the luxury of a large pool of candidates that was available during the downturn.”

She adds, “like it or not, it seems we are mainly driven by money when it comes to changing jobs.”

Given the right inducement, 94% of finance and accounting staff would be tempted to move jobs. Increased pay (26%) or taking on more challenging responsibilities (19%) are the two options most likely to entice staff to change companies.

A further 20% were most tempted by a promotion, a more prestigious job title or the opportunity to work for an inspirational manager.

New Zealand hiring managers have reported offering a number of enticements over and above salary to attract and retain talent, including subsidised training or education (52%), flexible working hours or telecommuting (46%) and additional bonuses (41%).

Others include mentoring programmes, loyalty leave, free or subsidised lunch or snacks, subsidised gym memberships, discounts or cash back programmes with popular retailers and onsite perks such as childcare, dry cleaning, fitness centre or cafeteria.

Alexander says while more money is the biggest lure to a new role, the three main factors for people wanting to leave a current job relate to issues with people, structure or process. This is food for thought for employees looking to build retention.

“Employees will be far more engaged by being given the opportunity to do meaningful work at a company they love with a team they enjoy, and where they are recognised for their achievements.

“Managers who can provide this mix, along with a competitive salary, will find they are well-placed when it comes to keeping hold of top performers.” 

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