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Accountancy & Finance - Professional Practice

Jobs Report A&F prof - Jul to Dec 2018


July – December 2018

Hotspots of skills in demand


Over half (53 per cent) of employers in New Zealand expect to increase permanent staff levels in the next 12 months, exceeding the 8 per cent who say they’ll decrease. According to the 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide, 18 per cent also expect to increase their use of temporary and contract staff, exceeding the 11 per cent who anticipate decreasing in this area. Meanwhile, 21 per cent now employ temporary and contract staff on a regular ongoing basis, with another 41 per cent employing them for special projects or workloads. 

Given vacancy activity, hotspots of skills in demand are emerging. While audit professionals at any level are in increasingly short supply, there is particular demand for Internal Audit Principal Advisors. While the technical skills of Internal Auditors are never in doubt, there is a shortage of senior advisors who are true business partners who can present to senior managers and show the value proposition of what they do.

Assistant Managers in BAS and Audit are needed too. Qualified CAs are taking contracts overseas, thus widening the local shortage of those with one to two years of post-qualified experience. This is a key position within firms; after three years of training and study these employees start to become profitable.

Tax and Business Advisory professionals at all levels are sought, but particularly at the Intermediate, Senior and Manager levels. With an increasing emphasis on business advisory services, many firms have high workloads and require additional support.

There is also ongoing demand for Senior Accountants who wish to remain in the profession rather than move to commerce after qualifying.

Intermediate Accountants are needed. Many firms do not provide their intermediates with sufficient exposure to clients or enough drafting experience. There is therefore a shortage of suitable candidates that fit the traditional requirement of an ‘intermediate’.

In addition, many recently qualified Intermediates and Seniors are bonded to firms for a period of time as a result of their professional studies, which can reduce the availability of candidates further. Following the completion of their CA or CPA candidates that do wish to change employers often move into commerce or to a larger firm. Others travel overseas.

Associate Directors with business development skills are sought, however most qualified accountants at this level move to commercial roles for better work-life balance.

Agri Accountants are in demand, however there is a shortage of candidates who specialise in this area.

In terms of soft skills, consulting and communication skills are highly valued. Firms are moving away from compliance and thus require candidates who can add real value through consulting. The focus is not only on how you present reports to clients, but how you articulate information and add valuable insight by showing what information really means to a client.

Assistant Managers and Managers must also have strong account management skills. Given the fast moving nature of Big 4 and 2nd tier firms, employers look for candidates who can work across multiple projects and ensure they are kept within budget and on time.

Finally, Xero certified candidates are increasingly valued since an increasing number of firms are utilising this software.


Salary trends

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of employers will give skilled professionals a pay rise of less than 3 per cent in their next review while 8 per cent will not increase salaries at all. According to the 2018-19 Hays Salary Guide, a further 22 per cent will give staff an increase of 3 to 6 per cent. Just 6 per cent will increase by 6 per cent or more.

Employees however have higher expectations for a salary increase. Over two-thirds (69 per cent) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. 26 per cent expect an increase of 6 per cent or more. A further 22 per cent expect an increase of between 3 to 6 per cent. At the other end of the scale, 19 per cent do not expect any increase and 33 per cent expect less than 3 per cent.

For more, see our Hays Salary Guide

Jobseeker advice

Upskilling has become a constant requirement to remain employable in today’s rapidly changing world of work. After all, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and rapidly gaining ground. Many jobs are being automated via technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and cloud computing.

Research from management consulting firm McKinsey suggests about 60% of occupations could see at least a third of their job tasks automated. Meanwhile, a report published by Deloitte claims the half-life of learned skills is now about five years.

To find out how to stay relevant and employable in the face of all this rapid change, see our upskilling advice here.