Hiring trends to watch in 2019

Nov 12, 2018

As the recruitment industry continues to evolve, technology plays an increasingly influential role.

As with any industry, recruitment is in a constant state of evolution. However, it is hindered by hiring managers’ tendency to see it as a transactional process as opposed to a strategic alliance. While the best recruitment firms work hard to instil this strategic mindset, there are a number of trends that will impact how hiring managers and their recruitment consultants will conduct the hiring process in the future.

1. Candidate-driven job market

Candidates are now firmly in the driving seat due to a shortage of talent to meet the demand for suitably qualified Chartered Accountants, particularly at the junior and mid-career level. To attract top talent, hiring managers must, therefore, have a stellar brand in the marketplace and be willing to act when the right candidate comes along. This candidate-driven market will also lead to salary inflation in the months and years ahead while intrinsic reward – how people feel about the work they do – will become an increasingly important differentiator.

2. SMEs take the fight to MNCs

With multinational corporations hiring vast amounts of Chartered Accountants, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be forced to increase their attractiveness to potential candidates. This increased competition will pose a challenge for all entities, but will ultimately lead to a stronger finance market as candidates’ preferences will be increasingly taken into account. This reality once again points to the importance of a strong employer brand and the need for companies to adopt a flexible and inclusive approach to their working environment. Those who expect candidates to conform to out-dated or rigid work practices will find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain the talent they need to succeed.

3. Artificial intelligence gains traction

As the debate about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) continues, progressive firms are already incorporating it into the workplace while adding to their headcount. The benefit of AI in this sense is the automation of mundane, repetitive tasks and the refocusing of human capital on value-add activities. In truth, the automation of low-value activity has been happening for years, but technology will facilitate the acceleration of this trend. It will also mean that finance professionals will need to be IT-aware and systems savvy as they will act as the conduit for information to the wider business.

4. The partnership process

To elaborate on the previous point, finance professionals will become increasingly integrated in the wider business. The concept of the ‘business partner’ in finance has been around for some time, but the finance department is now seen as a key ally in the development and execution of strategy. In this context, hiring managers will need to look beyond traditional technical skills and also hire for softer skills such as communication skills, presentation skills and project management experience. In many instances, finance professionals will be relied upon to interpret the data, not just generate it, and join the strategy conversation with the wider business.

While these are some of the key trends shaping the future of the recruitment market, the fundamentals remain the same – to hire the top talent, you need a strong employer brand that speaks to the intrinsic needs of candidates. You also need to act when the right candidate comes along and go in with your best reasonable offer.

If hiring managers get these fundamentals right, they will be well-positioned to protect themselves from the threats – and capitalise on the opportunities – that change will ultimately bring.

You can read this and more in the Accountancy Ireland and Barden Hiring Guide.