Tax – UK Finance Labour Market Trends Report, November 2023

Tax firms scale back hiring; Tech firms pick up in Q4 though

Key findings include:

  • This year sees a 31.1% decrease in tax vacancies compared to 2022
  • Southern England PP bucks the trend, increases share of national total to 26.5%
  • Banking remains leading in-house sector and increases share to to 27.9%
  • Amongst the big 4, KPMG lead the way in 2024 in tax vacancies

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The transition from the post-pandemic strategy of emphasising rapid talent acquisition and growth to prioritising efficiency and client service has resulted in a significant drop in recruitment for tax specialists this year, with vacancies forecast to be 31.1% down on 2022 according to a recent report by recruitment specialists Morgan Mckinley and market data providers, Vacancysoft.

Public Practice falls by only 15%, London and the South perform best

Overall vacancies in the sector fell by 15%, with vacancies hitting peak levels in Q2. London, sees a 28.4% contraction year-on-year, despite that remains the largest hub. Meanwhile, the southern regions increased their share to 26.5% in 2023, up from 19.9% in 2022, driven by an estimated 12.3% rise in the South West.

Tom Wood – Senior Manager at Morgan Mckinley, comments:

“US/UK Tax (and US Corp Tax) in particular, are continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate in London either with new teams being built, or increased demand for skilled US Tax professionals in existing teams and practice is starting to pick up again generally. Overall, a positive outlook moving into Q1 2024.”

Banking remains the largest in-house sector, Technology shrinks significantly

The Banking sector is projected to retain its top spot for tax vacancies in 2023, increasing its market share to 27.9% from 24.3% despite a forecasted 26.3% year-on-year decrease. Conversely, the tech sector leads the downturn among the top five sectors, with a significant 57.2% decrease, likely influenced by the broader retrenchment in the industry, as evidenced by substantial layoffs in major tech firms. However, we have seen a pick up here in Q4 2023, which bodes well for next year.

Lloyds and KPMG scale up whilst other organisations cut back

Lloyds Banking Group leads the In-House vacancies table with an impressive 225.7% rise in tax vacancies, however, other banking players like Evelyn Partners, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. witnessed around 50% vacancy declines. In the public practice sector, KPMG leads the table, holding 24% of open vacancies, a 5.1% year-on-year increase, overtaking EY in market share. EY, now at a 15% market share, continues a downward trend, with a 24.7% decline in openings for 2023.

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