Salaries hit as job market grinds to a halt

Accountants’ salaries are likely to be flat for at least the next year as the
economy worsens, recruitment experts believe, although pay prospects for finance
directors at smaller companies is more encouraging.

Recruitment companies have seen salaries for finance staff flatten out in
recent months as the number of job vacancies dips.

City firms have begun to use more temporary staff to plug skill gaps in their
finance departments without adding to their headcount, according to a new

Within financial services, staff with experience in risk management and
regulations are most in demand, said Neil Owen, director of the London unit
within the financial services group at recruitment consultancy Robert Half.
‘Full-time [staff] were looking for a 15-20% increase in salaries [annually
between 2005 and the end of 2007] but now salaries are starting to level out,’
said Owen. ‘The boom salary increases weren’t sustainable.’

But salaries for finance directors in some SMEs have improved recently,
according to Gareth Davage, managing director of the London and North regions
within the finance division of recruitment company Michael Page.

FDs with strong commercial experience, in addition to traditional accounting
knowledge, have recently been able to command higher salaries in the job market,
he said. For example, this could mean a salary of more than £100,000, when
previously the role would have paid £80,000 to £90,000.

‘Companies are demanding broader [FD] skills such as sales and commercial
skills and marketing and negotiation,’ he said.

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