Every year in July, recruitment specialist Robert Walters looks at what has happened in the financial labour market during the past 6 months.
The Corona pandemic had an impact here as well, mainly because a number of ongoing recruitments were put on hold in recent weeks. But there is hope: the financial labour market is slowly recovering.
Peak in February, drop in May
January started well and in February (just before the Corona pandemic in Belgium) we even saw a peak, with no less than 20% more job ads compared to February 2019. But when looking at the past 6 months, we see a decrease of about 8% in the number of finance jobs. This decrease was the biggest in the month of May, where we saw the number of advertised jobs for finance professionals decrease by 36% compared to May 2019. Christophe Paquay, Senior Consultant at Robert Walters in Antwerp: "The past few months have obviously been difficult to compare with last year, which was an economically strong year. Mandatory homeworking has gone quite smoothly for most professionals and we even saw organisations recruit remotely. Job interviews in the office were converted into video interviews. Fortunately, thanks to this technology, urgent recruitments were able to proceed.
The majority (26%) of advertised finance jobs were in the region of Antwerp, followed by the Brussels-Capital Region (19%) and East Flanders (14%). Last month, the number of financial vacancies in Antwerp increased again to almost the same level as in January.
Finance professionals most sought after
As before the Corona pandemic, we saw a strong demand in the financial labour market for Accountants, Financial Controllers, Business Controllers, Auditors and Insurance Specialists. "Some ongoing recruitment processes were put on hold for some weeks, but are now being reactivated. And that is also necessary, because the pressure on financial departments is high at the moment. This mainly concerns recruitment for Finance Manager and CFO positions, specialist positions within treasury and tax. It is those top of the bill finance profiles that make the difference for an organization now, to better emerge from this crisis".
These are exciting times for applicants. Is it a good idea to change jobs in the middle of a crisis period? "Definitely," Christophe says. "Now is the perfect time for you, as a finance professional, to show what you're worth and what added value you can bring to an organisation. After all, many companies are facing a number of major financial challenges: is it wise to proceed with planned investments? Some sectors suffered more severely from the Corona pandemic than others, and restructuring plans may be on the table in the most severely affected organisations. So finance professionals with expertise in this area would do well to take a look at what the labour market currently has to offer".
"A lot of companies are currently doing the exercise: what will their organisation look like in the future? What kind of employees do they need? And what job security can they offer applicants? Once this assessment has been made, they will start looking for the right talent that can help them achieve their objectives. We therefore expect that the financial labour market will slowly continue to recover".
The compulsory homeworking of the past few months has also caused many employees to start thinking about their job and their work-life balance. "The disappearance of long daily commutes has made many employees think about their job and their work-life balance. Some decided to look for a job closer to home, so that there is more time for family and leisure. This, of course, offers opportunities for smaller organisations that previously struggled to attract the right talent. To do that, as a potential employer, it is important to be honest and give applicants an insight into the future of the organisation and the growth opportunities there are. A quick and efficient recruitment process is recommended and shows stability. This only enhances the applicant's confidence".
On the lookout?
Looking to recruit a finance professional for your team? Contact one of our offices or upload your vacancy. Curious what the job market has to offer? Check out our latest finance jobs.