Expert view: Recruitment today

We asked Simon Speak, director of Blackburn-based accountancy and financial recruitment business AFR Consulting, about the current recruitment market.

Simon SpeakAre you seeing recruitment levels on the rise? I think the demand for people with relevant experience is definitely up; many of our clients made the deep cuts a few years ago now and are operating as leanly as they can be without any spare human resource to call on at busy times. As the climate has now improved for many businesses there has definitely been an increase in demand for finance staff.

What’s the market for candidates like? There is still a perception that the market is awash with candidates which means that clients remain very choosy about the sector experience and relevant qualifications they require. Good candidates are becoming a bit more confident about moving and are turning to trusted recruitment advisors like ourselves to help pinpoint the ideal next move.

What qualities are businesses looking for? Over the last few years there has definitely been more demand for commercially focused accountants who can add value across an organisation. In particular the concept of business partnering where accountants are asked to work with all departments delivering financial information to drive performance, challenge process and reduce cost.

Are you seeing any specific trends in how businesses recruit staff? There is still a big difference between methods used. particularly if the business is owner managed or a more corporate entity. A number of businesses are trying to source candidates directly through their own campaigns but unless they have the time and internal resources this may not be as cost effective as using an agency. What advice can you offer? The competition for talent is tough, imagine you are in the candidates shoes and ask yourself what the opportunity and company will do for your CV, people will always be thinking about how the experience they gain will help them achieve their career objective so employers need to be mindful of what the candidate looks for and position their offer as attractively as possible.