Beth Ashmead-Latham 12 Jul 2018 09:38am

Brexit boosts demand for accountants, says recruiter

Brexit has boosted demand for skilled professionals such as accountants, lawyers and IT professionals, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters Group

Brexit has boosted demand for skilled professionals, including accountants, lawyers and IT professionals, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters Group

This demand has driven increases in permanent contracts signed, likely due to increased legislation and regulation approaching Brexit, the group’s chief executive Robert Walters told the Times.

It also comes alongside a 2.8% rise in professionals’ wages in the three months to February, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Walters’ statements coincide with the release of the recruitment firm’s Q2 Trading Update, which shows gross profit at its UK business rose by 12% in the same period in 2017 and by 21% in its Europe business.

After a record quarter in July last year, the recruiter went on to upgrade profit forecasts in October and achieved another record quarter for Q4 2017. At the time, Walters told the Telegraph there were “very strong opportunities as a consequence [of Brexit]”.

In April 2018, the firm released figures showing that the number of jobs available in the accountancy and finance sectors had risen by 41% year on year.

However this is not being seen everywhere, with recruiter ManpowerGroup reporting last month that financial services are expecting to face job cuts.

Nick Kirk, UK managing director at recruitment firm Michael Page, is also not in agreement. He acknowledged “pockets of wage inflation amongst accountants, lawyers and IT professionals” but added “we cannot say that this was triggered by Brexit”.

“Skilled candidates who are in short supply, and who are working in areas of high demand will continue to experience the same market forces that I have seen for the vast majority of my 23 years at Michael Page,” he said.

“Brexit is not the reason behind this and, if anything, [it] is continuing to create uncertainty and weaker confidence levels, therefore dampening demand and wage inflation.”

Regardless, the labour market is becoming stronger following high employment rates, wages outpacing inflation and a shortage in skills – with the ONS reporting that earnings are up for the first time in almost a year.