Accountant jobs rise again after lull, with vacancies in financial services overtaking accountancy sector for first time

Mar 26, 2022 | Finance, News

  • Accountant jobs set for 7% quarter-on-quarter rise after strong January & February
  • Financial services with more accountant jobs than accountancy sector for first time ever
  • London increases share of total recruitment to nearly half of all new vacancies
  • In C&I, tech firms surpass consumer goods for most accountant vacancies

Hiring for accountants in England and Wales experienced a buoyant start to 2022 following a slight dip at the end of the year, with vacancies in London at an all-time high, according to new research.

A report [opens pdf] by global recruiters Morgan McKinley and data analysts Vacancysoft shows that recruitment levels in January and February were the highest totals recorded in these months in at least three years. Q1 2022 is projected to finish 7% up quarter-on-quarter, representing a 50% rise on the same period in 2019.

The real surge, however, is occurring in financial services. In Q1 2019, the sector accounted for 16% of all vacancies, a proportion that has been slowly edging up — and which overtook the accounting sector for the first time in Q3 2021. Currently, the share in early 2022 stands at 28%, 10 percentage points more than accountancy firm hiring.

Darren Burns, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley, said:

“Firms across the UK have a consistently high volume of jobs to fill. This means Accounting & Finance job seekers are enjoying plenty of choice, but has made hiring more competitive. The ability to secure talent will come down to transparent and efficient hiring processes, alongside competitive compensation packages and clear communication of their agile working policies.

“Movement across sectors is currently high, showing that organisations are less precious about industry experience, the practice trained in, or the qualification gained. Now, the ability to be a genuine finance business partner is the most important consideration when hiring.”

London increases share of total recruitment to nearly half of all new vacancies

The capital remains the largest hub for accountant vacancies, and has increased its share further, from 47.7% in 2021 to 49.1% so far in 2022. Vacancy volumes in London are already at 21% of last year’s levels. Should they maintain this trajectory through 2022, vacancies will finish 27.7% higher year-on-year

New jobs in the South East, the second-largest region for vacancies, have grown at the same rate as the capital in London in the first months of the year — accounting for nearly 13% of all hiring. The fastest growing region so far is Wales, with recruitment at 24% of last year’s totals.

In C&I, tech firms surpass consumer goods for most accountant vacancies

A look across C&I for accountant vacancies shows a surge in new jobs at technology firms. In the first two months of 2022, UK tech already published a third of the amount of jobs it recorded over the whole of 2021 — a spike that means the sector has overtaken consumer goods and services as the largest recruiter of financial professionals. 

Responsible for 19% of all accounting vacancies in 2020, tech firms increased their share to 25% in 2021 as hiring levels shot up by 127% year-on-year. In early 2022, that proportion rose by another 16.3 percentage points to account for 41.3% of all vacancies.

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