According to Hays, the professional practice sector continues to face a major skill shortage, with internal and external auditors remaining in high demand.
Likewise, tax and business services candidates with experience working for a reputable local firm remain in short supply, too.
“An increasing number of graduates are looking for their first professional role, yet graduate positions have been declining for several years. This has contributed to today’s shortage of intermediate candidates,” Hays said.
Business, commercial and financial analysts with business partnering skills, management accountants, commercial managers and experienced professional practice accountants also make the list of the top skill shortfalls for the second half of 2019.
The latest hotspot trend comes after Hays released its FY2019–20 Salary Guide earlier this year.
The report found that 90 per cent of employers will increase their accountancy staff salaries in their next review, up from 87 per cent who did so in their last review.
However, the value of these increases will fall. Sixty-five per cent of employers were looking to raise salaries at just 3 per cent or less, with only 4 per cent of employers intending to grant rises of more than 6 per cent.
Despite the low salary increases, 32 per cent of employers intend to increase permanent accountancy and finance staff levels over the coming year, with just 10 per cent who are indicating they will decrease staff levels.
“Within professional practice, and despite continuously high demand, firms are not increasing salaries above CPI. With clients looking to keep accounting fees down, firms are unable to offer strong salary increases to their staff. The rare exceptions occur for the highest performers,” said David Cawley, regional director of Hays Accountancy & Finance.
“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries.
“On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they plan to curtail salary increases.”