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Post-recession reflection prompts Accounting recruiters to up their game

Added 29th of August, 2014

A buoyant economy combined with a period of self-analysis for the post-recession business community, have resulted in a year of opportunity and change in the Accounting and Finance sector – both for businesses and candidates.

Following a time of uncertainty around permanent hires, the ‘rock star economy’ has given businesses the confidence to make permanent appointments and balance the permanent vs. contractor mix. This strategy has prompted a longer-term view of their recruitments needs.

Hamish McDonald, OCG’s Associate Director, Accounting and Finance, says, "Prior to the recession there was not enough analysis of business plans and their performance, but businesses are now trying to find a point of difference to get ahead in a competitive market. They are looking not just at the current gaps, but at where the gaps will be in the future.”

Contract roles become permanent

Reflecting this tendency, a number of contract roles are now becoming permanent. For Wellington-based Government roles the trend is towards longer fixed-term contracts that better reflect the length and nature of Government projects, and where the rate of pay is more in line with the permanent fixed-term equivalent.

Thanks to technological advances, businesses now have more information than ever, and building a competitive advantage is centred on how successfully this data is analysed, feeding growth in audit and analysis positions.

Less talent means more choice

All of this is good news for candidates, many of whom have acquired a broad range of experience in specialist contract roles. With many recent graduates heading overseas and baby boomers leaving the market, talent availability is still lacking, particularly in the Accounting and Finance sector. This gives candidates, especially those in the middle to senior management space, greater choice in job opportunities.

So how will businesses attract the best people for long-term advantage? "By identifying their talent requirements and pro-actively seeking the right people that will deliver the vision and strategy,” says McDonald.

Recent research from Aberdeen Group found that in 2014, 60 per cent of companies took a reactionary approach to recruitment, compared with 44 per cent in 2012.

McDonald says, "What this shows is that companies do not necessarily have the recruitment capacity or know-how to identify and maintain a pool of talent they can call upon.”

Talent on tap

As a result, recruiters are receiving more requests for specialist talent-search services, and in response to this OCG’s Specialist Recruitment department has grown in the last year.

McDonald explains, "We have direct contact with thousands of candidates around the world, through social media and other means. We ‘talent bank’ by tracking their skills, experience, qualifications and even when their visa expires. This enables our clients to pro-actively approach the people they want, and allows us to bring attractive job opportunities straight to candidates’ door.”

However, no amount of global searching will bring you the right candidate if your business does not appeal to a generation of candidates whose job is an intrinsic part of their lifestyle.

The increasing importance of corporate brand and culture mean businesses have to work harder to attract candidates, not just with interesting and exciting work, but social and lifestyle perks.

McDonald says, "Candidates are starting to examine their ‘candidate experience’ and ask specific questions about the type of work they will be doing, the people they will be working with and even the company’s strategic direction.

"Businesses need to realise this, and make sure they are selling themselves and their brand throughout the recruitment process.”

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