Talented financial staff are becoming increasingly difficult to find, according to a study published yesterday by Robert Half, a specialist financial services recruitment firm. According to the recruiter’s latest Professional Hiring Index 93% of HR staff are finding it challenging to source suitable permanent staff for financial positions such as accounting and compliance.

Despite increased difficulties sourcing permanent employees, these companies’ desire to recruit doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Nearly half (44%) of the 500 executives surveyed reported they are planning to add new positions in the coming year, an increase of 15% on the same period last year. Meanwhile those reducing or freezing their workforce shrunk by a third from 9% to 6%. Recruiters aren’t optimistic about filling these new vacancies though – 34% said there was a lack of technical experts in niche areas (compliance was reported as the most difficult position to hire for), and 33% said there was a general shortage of qualified candidates.

This rapidly-increasing demand will likely have two consequences – firstly, wage growth in the financial sector is likely to expand quickly and secondly, specialist consulting staff are likely to see increased demand in the coming months. Traditionally large firms will turn to interim or contract workers when unable to recruit for permanent slots, so financial consultants specialising in compliance, analysis and risk will be expecting a bumper year ahead.

Robert Half’s Senior Managing Director¬†Phil Sheridan commented:

“Skills shortages across the UK economy are becoming a major issue, with this deficit putting businesses at increasing risk. ¬†Our figures show that financial services and finance & accounting, in particular, are current and future growth areas, with professionals being highly sought after and commanding premium remuneration.”

Photo by Ed Schipul