6 July 2023
It has now become tradition for international recruitment firm Robert Walters to look at what has happened in the financial job market over the past six months at the beginning of July. Like salary expectations, the need for finance specialists remained high, but we do see a shift in employers' requirements. Marie Parmentier, Finance Manager at Robert Walters, explains.
2022 proved to be an absolute record year in terms of number of published vacancies within finance: in the first half of the year, no less than 61% more vacancies were recorded than the year before. In the past six months, however, this increase was less striking. This is largely due to the economic situation and inflation, and organisations remaining cautious in hiring, especially in the first quarter. "That's true," explains Marie Parmentier, Manager Finance at Robert Walters. "The high wage costs brought on by inflation caused organisations to start the year cautiously. But the need for finance specialists remains high, so recruitment activities picked up quickly, albeit with a very cost-conscious approach."
The list of most sought-after finance profiles in 2023 has not changed from last year. "That still consists of accountants and controllers. Since 2019, accountant has been a bottleneck profession and the job market in accounting remains under constant pressure. Within banking and insurance, it is mainly private bankers and risk & compliance specialists who are still high on the wish list."
Robert Walters' salary survey polled employers' expectations for 2023 at the end of 2022. It showed that as many as 90% of surveyed employers were (seriously) concerned about the talent shortage, mainly at senior level. Over half (52%) said they were particularly concerned about the high salary expectations of candidates. Marie: "These concerns were not unjustified. The salary package again plays a very important role in decision-making among the younger generation of finance professionals, as do their high demands around flexibility. Senior finance professionals then look more at the overall picture, although salary still plays an important role with them too."
"Certain hard skills such as system/PowerBI knowledge obviously remain a must, but more and more organisations are shifting the focus in their selection process to the human skills. "That is a necessary, but above all beautiful shift," Marie explains. "After all, hard skills can be learned, human skills - or soft skills as we used to call them - are much less so.
Organisations today are especially looking for employees with certain personality traits. Motivation is at the top of the list, but a go-getter mentality, eagerness to learn and an entrepreneurial spirit are also necessary human skills that organisations are eagerly looking for. Flexibility and adaptability are also valuable skills, especially in organisations where processes around automation and digitalisation are underway and there will be changes in the classic job description of employees," Marie concludes.
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