Surge in work-from-anywhere tax accountant jobs in UK as total vacancies level off following record year — new report

May 26, 2022 | News, Tax

  • Professional tax jobs experienced strongest year in 2021, up 132%
  • Although slowing in 2022, recruitment 36% higher than pre-pandemic levels
  • Surge in “location-neutral” public practice and in-house jobs following lockdown
  • EY hiring most tax experts while Grant Thornton experiences fastest growth

Tax accountant jobs that can be performed from any location are surging across the UK, as firms look to gain the edge on the competition and fill vacancies amid a battle for talent, new research shows.

According to a report by global recruiters Morgan McKinley and data analysts Vacancysoft, tax accountant vacancies that can be performed from multiple office locations or from home are up 213% in public practice and 586% across in-house roles. 

Now constituting 10% of overall hiring for tax experts in England and Wales, up 8 percentage points since 2020, “location-neutral” roles as a category lie in third place behind London and the South East for total numbers of vacancies.

Overall tax vacancies level off in 2022 as growth slows following record year 

Tax vacancies experienced their strongest year in 2021 following an all-time low during the first year of the pandemic. Annual totals reached nearly 3,300 new jobs in England and Wales, a 132% year-on-year rise and up 42% in relation to 2019.

In the first months of 2022, however, they are growing at 5% below 2021 levels. Similarly, as a share of overall accounting vacancies, jobs for tax specialists have dropped from a five-year record of 13% last year to 10% so far in 2022. Nonetheless, compared to 2019, tax vacancies remain considerably higher, with 36% more jobs this year than before the pandemic.

Kathryn Swan, Head of Professional Services, Morgan McKinley, said:

“Confidence levels are high across the tax market and the outlook for the rest of the year is positive. Many organisations are looking to recruit, and demand for experienced talent is high. There has been a leveling off in the quantity of roles registered by very large international practice firms, but this has been counterbalanced by continued and rising demand from the in-house market, and financial services specifically.”

“The largest accountancy firms have all formalised hybrid working policies in an effort to keep pace with the market. Both technological and cultural advances made during the pandemic have resulted in the rise in numbers of remote working tax specialists. However, the most common arrangement remains a hybrid blend of home and office based working.”

EY hiring most tax experts, Grant Thornton experiences fastest growth in 2022

EY is leading the way in hiring for tax professionals within the accountancy sector, both in 2021 and in the first four months of 2022. However, the firm has made a slower start to its recruitment this year, with hiring levels so far down by 54% compared to 2021.

Top 6 accounting firms for tax vacancies, 2021-2022 (see report for full table)

# Company 2021 2022 (Q1) 2022 growth rate
1 EY 472 72 -54%
2 KPMG 271 59 -35%
3 BDO 170 57 0%
4 Azets 120 44 10%
5 PwC 245 29 -64%
6 Grant Thornton 49 25 53%

 

Indeed, all the Big Four have seen a significant dip in tax vacancies, with KPMG (-35%), PwC (-64%) and Deloitte (-41%) seemingly satisfied with the strength of their tax accounting function in early 2022. Hiring levels at Grant Thornton, meanwhile, are buoyant with vacancies up 53%.

Outside the accountancy sector, JPMorgan has published the most vacancies, with the firm’s monthly average up 106% compared to 2021. The fastest growth is at Kier Group, with recruitment levels up by 900%, followed by Avalara which is experiencing a 231% uplift.

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