Resign and get a pay rise!

GOOD NEWS for accountants in the UK. Recruitment consultancy Marks Sattin has reported that the jobs market is showing signs of significant improvement.

According to its latest survey, 35% of accountants leaving their post are now being offered a raise to stay. That’s a significant increase on the figure this time last year, which stood at 12.5%.

The figures also show that the salary increases on offer are serious. On average accountants are being offered 15% more pay by their employers to stay put – up from 5% in 2009. To put that buoyancy in context, seven of every 20 accountants in the UK are being counter-offered now, compared to just one in eight last year.

The London market is especially healthy, according to the recruitment specialists, which reports that 70% of accountants in the capital can expect a counter-offer from their employers should they resign.

That is in marked contrast to the rest of the UK. Resigning accountants outside London are only half as likely to receive a compensatory offer from their current employers, illustrating the gap that still exists between London and the rest of the country.

Dave Way, managing director of Marks Sattin, says: “The resurgence of the counter-offer is proof not only of the economic recovery but also a result of corporate restructuring and greater banking regulation that is driving demand for middle managers. Companies are having to work hard to hold on to their valuable employees again.”

A more detailed look at the figures shows some patterns emerging, and also places the UK in a global context. In terms of sectors, counter offers for accountants are most prevalent in media, oil and gas, private equity, mining and retail.

Given that the government has made no secret of the need for the private sector to drive the recovery, this is encouraging. However this is only London, so for accountants in the rest of the country the news may not be so rosy.

But while the news is broadly positive for UK accountants, a look overseas reveals more buoyancy in the accountancy jobs market. In Singapore for example the average counter offer wage rise amounts to 20%. It should be said though that only 2 in ten receive counter offers.

Hong Kong is reporting similar strength in its accountancy job markets, with rises of 20% common. Again, though, fewer accountants receive those offers.

Dubai, which five years ago was experiencing exponential growth in recruitment, is now reporting a slow but marked return to growth after serious retrenchment in its accountancy market over the past two years.

During 2008-09 employers in the Emirate were focusing on managing headcount costs with the result that fewer wage increases are being offered. That is slowly improving, as the survey shows that the number of accountants being offered a rise by employers to stay on at their current job, has risen to four in every 10 – as opposed to zero in 10 in 2009 and one in 10 in 2008.

Ultimately for well qualified accountants, the current environment is relatively benign. “Today we are once again seeing quality accounting and finance professionals with numerous job offers on the table at any one time,” says Marks Sattin’s Way. “Employees know they have options.”


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