Market Updates 2017

As we head toward the end of 2017, I hope you have had a successful year and wish you good luck for 2018.

It’s been a busy time at Austin Rose as we put the finishing touches to our new purpose built offices that we hope to be moving into during January. We’re extremely excited by the move and believe that this will give us the launchpad to continue our strong growth plans.

I have been delighted with the progress of our Advisory team this year, headed by Iain Johnson, who have made significant inroads with many of the major employers in that market. We have always been proud of the relationships we hold within the public practice market, and now our advisory team are able to offer our candidates similar advantages from their great relationships.

The corporate finance market has seen a busy period of recruitment at Manager-level and above, particularly across the mid-tier firms and the specialist boutiques. There seems to have been a more pronounced flow of candidates from the Big 4 to the boutiques than has been seen for some time. This is partly due to the smaller firms aggressively fighting for work from the larger firms but also due to a greater volume of deals that naturally would sit within the mid tiers. Newly qualified opportunities to move from audit to corporate finance remain relatively sparse in London and those NQ ACAs who are committed to moving into corporate finance have been relocating out of London to find that first foot on the ladder.

Within the forensic market the primary recruitment activity remains within disputes and forensic technology. Investigations work remains subdued although strong Senior Managers or Directors with good business development experience, are still highly prized.

The audit market has softened within the larger firms but remains strong in the mid-tiers. Whilst there are still roles at most levels within most firms (this is after all an incredibly candidate short market!), the numbers of recruits needed isn’t at the same levels seen a year or two back. Therefore firms are being much more considered about who they recruit. The bar is higher in terms of academic requirements and relevant experience than it has been for some time. That said, strong auditors are still in short supply and are still receiving multiple offers.

Outsourcing and Business Services recruitment is as strong as ever. The continued outsourcing of low level accounting work overseas has removed a significant proportion of the training roles for junior accounts staff. This continues to leave a shortage of good quality qualified accounts seniors and managers, as well as experienced accounts semi-seniors. The large outsourcing teams in London are struggling to recruit at Qualified Management Accountant level, and strong people managers in Outsourcing are a prized candidate. More and more firms are looking to recruit outgoing and customer facing Xero specialists who are able to work autonomously and can be sent to clients to win business as well implement the system and train staff. Xero systems experience continues to be the growth skill-set in this area.

Tax continues to be the most candidate short of all of our specialisms within practice. This has been the case as long as I can remember and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.  All areas have been busy with a particular drive in corporate tax in the Top 20 and a significant shortage of personal tax experienced individuals at the small and medium end of the market. There are still substantial opportunities for audits seniors to move into corporate tax and for general practice seniors to move into a mixed or personal tax role.

As we move towards 2018 the best way to sum the market up is that the volume of roles in most areas remains strong, although not maybe at the levels they were two years ago, but that good quality candidates are still receiving multiple offers. Opportunities for progression still remain strong for candidates with client facing skills, demonstrable business development experience or a strong technical ability. Whilst firms remain considered in their approach to expansion, given the uncertainties that lie ahead, the general consensus is that performance is strong and there still many service lines that are seeing significant growth and opportunities for the future. Long may it continue!

~ Scott


Scott is Austin Rose's Director and Founder. His focus is on supplying excellent candidates to high quality firms, and making Austin Rose a great firm to work with, and work for. You can get in touch with him on 020 3225 6120 or at


Wednesday Nov 29, 2017