Marketing & Business Development Recruitment in the Accountancy Market – Analysis and Trends

The last year has been a dynamic one, with several firms entering restructure phases, whilst others have gone through mergers in what has become a smaller accountancy market than in recent years.

  • Marketing, Digital & Communications roles:

There has been a steady flow of manager level hiring across most firms, with the larger firms also looking to bring in senior managers and team lead/head of marketers. More and more we are seeing a digital emphasis on the job specs, as firms look to broaden the channels the engage with their markets on. Internal communications and Events roles have been more evident than PR or Brand roles in recent months. Director roles have been few and far between recently, but given the director level moves the year before, that is to be expected as leaders bed in and build their lieutenants and junior teams up.

  • Business Development, CRM & Bid roles:

Most firms have continued to hire at manager and senior manager for bid specialists, with the focus increasingly being on those candidate who can bring an advisory and coaching aspect to the role, rather than a pure project management and reactive style of working. The buzz word has been ‘engagement’ as firms try to hire CRM and Bid specialists who can turn inwards and get the wider business utilising systems and cross selling more effectively. Business Development roles have been on the increase in the non-London regions of the UK as firms look to the SME and Entrepreneurial UK markets as a way to generate more clients and revenue.

  • Salaries and Flexible Working

The Big 4 continue to dominate the pay levels for marketing and communications roles, with strong bonus schemes and cash allowances lifting average take-homes up above what the mid-size can smaller firms can compete with. With Business Development roles, there is more of a balance, as the small to mid-size firms offer a lot more client-facing roles and therefore have more tangible bonus – and in some case commission – schemes to offer candidates. All across the sector, firms are looking at flexible working as a way to recruit and retain top talent. This has evolved in many firms beyond the traditional ‘work one day from home’ offering, and has become more about working the hours that suit each employee, as long as the job is managed successfully. The larger firms have become more open about where staff work and often offer alternative offices and cities as bases in order to attract candidates not living in London or other UK commuter belts.

  • Candidates and Available Talent

As is always the case, there are more jobs in this market than there are available and skilled candidates with Professional Services firm experience. The smarter firms have operated more of a head hunting approach and moved quickly and with strong initial offers in order to secure the best candidates. There is still a reluctance in the main – especially in Big 4 firms – to hire candidates who do not come from either an accountancy, law or consulting partnership, and this has meant the time it takes to complete a recruitment hire has remained slow for those firms as they wait for the ‘perfect’ candidates to apply.