Adam Leyland 7 Jul 2017 01:15pm

Accounting and finance staff among most in demand

Employees in the finance and accountancy sectors were among the most in-demand for permanent staff of all UK industries in June, as businesses attempt to protect themselves from the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit

Meanwhile starting salaries have risen at their quickest pace for over a year and a half, suggesting that companies are increasing financial incentives in order to secure the necessary talent amid a slump in job seekers.

According to the REC/Markit Report on Jobs, recruitment agencies registered a broad-based upturn in demand for permanent staff in June, with sharp increases across all professions.

Accounting and financial jobs were placed second in the ranking (compared to third place last year), with an index reading of 64.0, in comparison to 59.0 in June 2016.

The news came as each of the five monitored UK regions registered falls in permanent candidate availability, with the steepest decline seen in the south of England.

REC director of policy Tom Hadley said, “With fewer people currently looking for jobs, employers are having to increase starting salaries to secure the talent they need.

“This is creating great opportunities for people with in-demand skills who are prepared to change jobs, but it’s also putting unsustainable pressure on many businesses.”

Hadley warned that Brexit is exacerbating the UK’s existing skill shortage: he pointed out that, according to REC figures, London alone employs almost 200,000 EU nationals in the finance and business services sectors.

"Policies which make it more difficult to recruit and retain these people will put business growth at risk.

“Investment in training the domestic workforce is vital to the long-term health of the jobs market, but it won’t allay employers’ fears about losing access to workers from the EU,” he added.

Meanwhile the number of jobs available in the accountancy and finance sector has remained steady for some time.

In April, figures from recruitment specialist Robert Walters found that the number of accountancy and finance vacancies had increased by 41% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017 and were also accompanied by an increase in salaries