Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements over April, May, and June 2021. The number of placements during this period is higher than any other quarter in the recruitment company’s 20-year history. Current figures are up 6% on the previous record set in 2019 before the pandemic. As one of the largest recruiters in Ireland, Sigmar has offices across the country and is present in all professional sectors. The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements breaking all records in the month of May, with June accounting for the second-highest month ever. Commenting on the rebound of the labour market, Sigmar founding Director, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “The jobs market in Ireland has never been stronger or more buoyant than it currently is. We’re seeing several macro trends converge all at once, which is creating significant churn in the market. Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunities no longer bound by location. This is coupled with a rising tide of consumer confidence, as many professionals find themselves in a stronger financial position than before the pandemic. “The last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, and the humdrum of lockdown has created a desire for change which is now resulting in unprecedented numbers of people moving jobs. Employee loyalty is increasingly under question, with remote work being less enjoyable, many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.” IT accounted for one-third of all job placements throughout the quarter, followed in order by Financial Services, Sales & Marketing, Accountancy, Life Science & Manufacturing, Office Support, Public Sector, Construction, Professional Services. Business confidence has also grown steadily over the course of the year, as vaccination gathered momentum. The “low-touch economy” is booming is sectors such as e-commerce, digital, and logistics. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “The resurgence of permanent recruitment is somewhat unique to how we’ve rebounded from previous downturns, where we typically saw flexible work return quicker.” Although the vast majority of job placement in Q2 were understandably remote, Sigmar reports that the tide is beginning to change with the majority of employers now committing to hybrid work over the coming three months. Mac Giolla Phádraig advises: “As we now choose our workplaces, at a time when the power dynamic has shifted to the employee, employers need to ensure adequate work practices to reconnect the workforce with the workplace equitably. There is an inherent risk that new workforce inequities may emerge, such as “proximity bias”, where those closest to the centre of influence get greater recognition and therefore promotion opportunities as opposed to remote workers. When it comes to individual contribution the opposite could be argued that remote workers get the benefit of having less in-office distractions and their output is therefore greater.” Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long-distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opens up new experiences and possibilities, which are now being explored on a scale never before seen.” He adds, “if we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. It’s now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”
Download - Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF) Executive Summary From Adie McGennis, CEO We thought we had seen it all! If someone said in January; that most of us would fundamentally change the way we work (possibly forever), that some markets would be down over 80%, that we’d all feel awkward when not wearing a mask, that we couldn’t meet any clients or candidates for most of the year, that international travel would be nearly impossible, and that in Ireland record levels of employment would turn to record levels of unemployment in a few weeks; you would probably expect a more volatile salary comparison guide at the end of 2020. Indeed, the personal and health toll for many puts business considerations in context, so we wish everyone well, good health and wellbeing. Obviously, some areas suffered more than others and many areas even thrived, but overall, the stability in professional salaries may be the remarkable aspect of 2020! Generally, in volatile times temporary and contract work increases and this was very much the case in 2020. Many companies had to deal with a rapidly changing landscape in terms of their market, remote work, government supports and varying degrees of lockdown. Progressive companies hired professionals on a temporary or contract basis, and even on a remote basis, so demand and rates did increase for contractors in areas such as IT. We see this continuing even as the rate of change is slowing and hopefully stabilising. For some years now, we have been talking about career plans being fluid and dynamic, and flexibility and contracting increasing. This definitely took a leap forward in 2020. Sector wise, life sciences, including pharmaceutical got increasingly busy throughout the year and from R&D to manufacturing to distribution, this looks set to continue growing for the next few years. Financial Services was more challenging, as their market and way of work changed so quickly. Certainly, towards the end of the year it seems to be stabilising. At the end of 2020 Brexit is again looming and Dublin’s and London’s financial services will experience change and opportunity as well as challenges, for at least the next few years. Construction really slowed in 2020, but again steadily picking up in last few months, as general demand returns but also the way construction sites work has evolved. As a group generally SMEs in Ireland handled the craziness really well. Agility, pivoting and bootstrapping seemed like management school concepts until out of necessity, many businesses changed their model, their cost base, their strategy, and their mentality very quickly to go from Survive to Thrive in a few months. So many inspirational stories. They deserve the opportunities that we hope an improving landscape will present. So, our outlook for Ireland in 2021 is positive. There will be more challenges in coming months, but we are optimistic that the general picture will improve. From a national perspective the short-term funding required will necessitate strong budget management in coming years to enable businesses to grow back. Ireland still carries a lot of debt and politically there may be pressure to increase public expenditure beyond sustainable rates. But as long as we get this right, we have every reason to be optimistic and put 2020 down to learning experience. Download Salary Guide Ireland 2021 (PDF) Salary Guide 2021 by department Accountancy & Finance Construction & Property Services Financial Services HR Insurance IT Legal & Compliance Life Sciences Manufacturing & Engineering Marketing Multilingual Office Support Sales Supply Chain
Industry & Commerce The strength of the Irish economy has so far withstood the lingering threat of Brexit along with other potential external fears. This has afforded businesses within the industry the opportunity to grow and expand, creating jobs within the sector. We have seen vacancies at all levels being created, with the most significant increase appearing in the €50-60k bracket. Following the trend of 2018, multinational companies have continued to fuel the increase in salaries as competition for talent intensifies. The tech industry has also contributed to growth within the industry as multinational tech firms continue to expand, particularly in Dublin. We expect the accounting industry to continue to expand into 2019 as the Irish economy maintains its steady year on year growth. Salaries For the foreseeable future, accountancy salaries will continue to steadily rise within all industry sectors following the trend of 2018. With most sub sectors benefiting from the growing economy, supply and demand issues will influence salaries at all levels with mid-level positions experiencing the highest rate of inflation. Furthermore, growing economies overseas has increased the demand for talent by creating more jobs attracting potential candidates abroad. This has contributed to the steady rise of salaries at all levels. Financial Services The Irish economy has played a part; however, it is BREXIT that has played the most significant role in job creation over the past 12 months with several large financial services companies growing their presence in Ireland, particularly within their regulatory and treasury teams. Whilst many of the domestic banks and established financial services companies in Ireland have not significantly grown in 2018, the confidence in the jobs market has resulted in opportunities in these institutions as a higher degree of staff turnover has transpired. Salaries Salaries in the financial services sector have risen over the past 12 months with the increased competition for talent coming mainly from the new jobs being created by BREXIT. The most notable increases have been in the mid and upper mid-levels (€50-75k). It is anticipated that salaries will continue to rise in 2019 as the additional accountancy jobs that have been introduced create ‘churn’ in the market and supply and demand factors play a role in ensuring that salary growth is a reality. Looking for an accountancy and finance job? Check out our latest jobs here
From my experience hiring accountancy staff for SMEs and large multinationals, here are 5 things you need to know to get the most value from your dealings with your accountancy recruiter. 1. We want to know about the job and your company inside out Professional recruiters will want to know everything about your company when working on a position for you. This information will include: Size of the team the role is situated in When and by whom the company was founded The product or service provided Future goals and plans. Professional and credible recruiters should have a list of questions about the company make-up and culture before even asking for a job specification. If a recruiter does not look for the above information, make sure they are made aware of it as it will increase their ability to promote the company to potential hires. Our job is to sell this opportunity to our best accountancy candidates, so the more we know the better. 2. Have your accounts ready With finance roles the recruiter will be advising the candidate to review the financial accounts of a company as well as other standard information. These might not always be easily accessible so it’s a good idea to provide a soft copy of them to your recruiter to ensure that the candidates you meet in the process will be prepared for an interview and have an in depth knowledge of the financial standing of your company. 3. You don’t need to read CVs When you receive a CV from a recruiter, they will have already been screened and interviewed by the recruiter to establish that they are good enough for consideration. To save you time reading these CVs, a recruiter should use a cover sheet which will have the most relevant “USPs” of the candidate in question along with information on notice periods, any holidays planned, relevant skills etc. I would suggest having a basic company cover sheet in case your recruiter does not have one as standard, in order to streamline the process as much as possible. 4. The more you tell us, the better we can prepare your potential hires It is extremely important to outline the format of the interview process and highlight any tests or unusual stages there may be so all candidates can be aware of what to expect. The more specific information you can “arm” your recruiter with (such as interview questions that may be asked), the better the candidates will be at interview. 5. No surprises at the end The offer and acceptance stage of the process is where we all want to get to. In order to make this stage as painless as possible, the level of the role and remuneration package on offer needs to be discussed from the outset. Again, your recruiter will have spoken to the candidate about what package they are currently on and their salary expectations. From here, be honest and transparent with your recruiter and let them know what you are willing to pay, any future potential changes (i.e. permanency etc.) and also all details of the offer. It is the recruiter’s responsibility to satisfy both parties. If you have any questions about the recruitment process or if you would like to speak to me about hiring accountancy staff please call me on +353 1 4744662 or email me at email@example.com
The market for newly qualified accountants is the busiest it has been in my five years working in recruitment and you will certainly have some good options available to you should you decide to leave practice. The first job you take outside of practice is an important decision to make, and it is a choice that you should put some serious thought and consideration in to. What kind of job would I like to do? As a newly qualified ACA accountant the experience will be attractive to a variety of different employers. Rather than just having the mind-set to take any job that is not external audit, decide what kind of jobyou would genuinely like to do. There is the option to move into financial accounting/financial reporting/financial analysis/internal audit etc. jobs. The first job you move into outside of practice may shape your career for the next 3-5 years. Given the amount of time you have spent studying, working long hours etc. in external audit, it is important that you move into a job type that you will genuinely enjoy and hopefully stay in for a number of years. What kind of industry would I like to work in? If you have spent 3-4 years working in audit you will have first-hand knowledge of companies in a variety of industries. Think about companies that you have audited that you would actually like to work for yourself and then target a job in a similar organisation. If you decide to continue your career in Dublin you are lucky in that there are a number of large employers in most industry sectors including Banking, Insurance, Funds and Multinationals. Even Irish owned SMEs and start-up companies are starting to hire again. It will be easier to secure a job in the industry sector that you audited but some companies will see that your skills are transferable and will offer you an opportunity to change sectors. Speak to your recruiter about which companies will give you this option. Should I stay working in practice beyond my training contract? Whilst a significant percentage of accountants working in audit will want to leave practice as soon as their training contract expires a lot will want to stay working in practice. This can be a good option for some candidates. You can progress to managerial level, manage larger teams and be exposed to more senior stakeholders in a variety of different companies. This will be advantageous to some candidates in the long term. However if you are not going to be exposed to anything new by staying on in your current role then it may be better to move on. There is also the option to move to a different accountancy practice on completion of your training contract. Big 4/Top 7 audit firms are always looking to hire good auditor seniors. Changing accountancy practices may give you exposure to new clients and may give you an opportunity to audit clients in a different sector than you are used to. If you qualified in a Top 20 practice it may be a good idea to get a year experience in a Big 4 audit firm if the ultimate aim is to get a role in one of the big multinational/financial service organisations. What is most important to you in a new job? All candidates will have different motives for leaving practice. For some they will want to join an organisation big enough whereby they can constantly progress and develop over the next 5-10 years. Others will prefer to go into a role that will offer more variety and more of a mental challenge. For some newly qualified accountants after spending three years working 60 hours a week they will just want a job that will allow them to finish work every day at 5pm. Whatever your motivation, there will be different options available. If using a recruiter be honest with them and this will result in you interviewing with the most appropriate companies for your skill set. Also speak to colleagues in years above you in practice who have left to join companies in industry as they will be able to give you first-hand information as to whate roles outside of practice really are like. Get your CV updated Until you interview your CV is the only document you have to describe your skills and experience. Despite all the resources available to candidates (CV templates, CV advice online etc.) some qualified accountants still cannot prepare good CVs. Your CV should do you justice and describe all relevant experience you have built up over your training contract. If you are unsure about CV layout or what to include then speak to a recruiter directly and they can help you with this process. In general your CV should be clear, concise, easy to read and very informative (facts and figures). If you have trained in audit list the different clients you have audited and describe their size (turnover, number of employees etc.) and industry sector. Recruiters see hundreds of CVs from Big 4 candidates every year and most CVs look very similar – what distinguishes one from the other is the different clients that you have worked on. Your audit clients will also be the first thing employers will look at when reviewing your application along with your educational record. In certain cases your recruiter may get you to tailor your CV for an application to a specific role – this will significantly increase your chance of securing an interview. Meet with a recruiter Meeting with a recruiter in person will be much more beneficial that just having a phone call with them. At an initial meeting you can have an open and honest conversation around what kind of job you actually want. This should result in you only being put forward to jobs you would be genuinely interested in rather than being submitted to ten different jobs just because your skill set is desired by the client. Applying to jobs of no appeal to you is a waste of the recruiter’s and the client’s time and does not reflect well on you either. By meeting with the recruiter at the beginning of your job search you will also distinguish yourself from the other hundred candidates coming out of training contracts at the same time. A good recruiter will also be able to match you to a company environment that will suit your personality as well as your skill set. Don’t wait for someone to approach you – be proactive and contact a recruitment consultant yourself. It is nice to be approached about a job and feel as though you are being headhunted for a specific role, however often the recruiters with the most jobs for you will not have the time to search through LinkedIn for hours to find suitable candidates. By registering your details with a good recruitment consultant you will ensure that you are kept aware of all suitable job opportunities that may arise. Even if you are not looking for a role immediately the best way to find out about good jobs is by having a relationship with the recruiter that will be speaking to these companies. Also, recruiters that have worked with companies for a number of years tend to be able to influence clients into meeting candidates that they have met and can personally recommend. By applying to a job through an agency you should be able to gain a competitive advantage over applicants that apply directly. Your recruiter will be able to give you advice about the company, the work environment, the hiring manager and also be able to conduct interview preparation with you. They will also be able to keep you better informed of the timelines involved in the process and will be able to ensure the hiring manager makes a quick decision if you are interviewing with a couple of different companies. What salary can I get? Naturally the salary you attain in a new job is an important factor when making your decision about what company to join. Luckily as a qualified ACA accountant in Dublin you can expect to receive a good salary in the current market. Companies in different industries pay different various salaries so have a look at salary guides for an idea of what you may be eligible for. Sometimes companies will offer lower salaries at first but with a view to increasing your remuneration and benefits as you progress whereas other companies will offer a higher salary initially but will offer no salary increase or no room for career progression over the next three years. Be open minded regarding salary and listen to the advice of your recruitment consultant as well as from fellow colleagues, managers etc. The first job you take outside of practice is an important decision and taking a short term view in terms of salary expectations may not be the best move in the longer term. Also, in reality a couple of grand difference in salary is going to make little difference to your monthly take home pay. Should I take a contract job? A lot of candidates will only consider permanent jobs when looking to change. Whilst this is understandable in some circumstances (mortgage application etc.), ruling out contract roles can seriously limit your options. The majority of large multinational or financial services companies in Dublin tend to offer contract roles initially. In general these tend to be permanent in all but name and will be extended beyond the initial fixed term contract. Again your recruiter will be able to offer you advice around which companies will make you permanent and which ones won’t. I plan on going travelling after my training contract ends On completion of a training contract or within a year of qualifying, a large percentage of accountants will go abroad to travel or to work. Depending on your personal circumstances you may be better off staying in your current practice for six months before going away whereas in the majority of cases it may be good to try and get 6-12 months industry experience before going away as this will make your CV look more marketable when you decide to return to Ireland. Of course this is dependent on individual circumstance and jobs on offer. If I fail my FAEs? If you fail your exams you will still have a significant number of options available to you. The first thing you should consider is whether you plan on repeating your ACA exams the following year. If this is the case, the best option will likely be to stay working in practice as no company in industry will offer you the amount of study leave that you will get in practice. If you are unhappy in your role maybe consider joining another audit firm that will offer a new environment and new clients to work with. A good option for a lot of candidates is to change to ACCA. This is still a prestigious qualification that will be hugely beneficial to you over the course of your career. You will be exempt from most exams and should be able to qualify within a year. The exam format is much friendlier to people in full time jobs than ACA exams are. The majority of accountants that train in industry will undertake ACCA exams rather than ACA ones. If you want to stay doing ACA maybe consider taking a contract role until next summer and then take a couple of months off to study for your FAEs once again. You will still have lots of options available to you to move into industry. You have the same amount of work experience as those that are qualified and your skillset will still be in demand to employers. You may not command the same salary that qualified accountants can but you will still get a good package. You will also have a year’s experience in industry (rather than another twelve months in practice) and when you qualify next year you should be able to command the same salary as your work colleagues who pass the exams this year. If you have any questions on your present position or are interested in roles that Sigmar has on offer please contact our team – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-4744600.
As a recruiter, I have seen some good, some bad and some ugly CVs cross my desk. There are a couple of things which an accountancy CV should always contain and similarly, a few things which should never appear. Below I will discuss in a number of points how you, as an accountant, can grab the attention of the prospective audience i.e. recruiters or HR professionals and secure yourself an interview. Personal Profile The one thing you are looking to gain from your CV is an interview and hopefully, at the end of the process, a job. The first thing we should realise is that a HR professional or recruiter takes only 10-15 seconds to decide whether they are going to delve deeper into your CV and discover what you can offer. So to grab their attention you should include a short summary of yourself which is essentially a description of what an employer would be getting if they hired you. “A highly experienced ACA big 4 qualified accountant with 3 years PQE in a global FMCG multinational. Highly adaptable team member with strong communication skills. Looking for a role with a progressive multinational in a commercial finance capacity.” Qualifications As a finance professional, your qualifications and certificates are some of the first things employers or HR will look for on your CV. For this reason you need to put exact details of your education and how proficient you were in each area, for example: 1st time pass ACA. The same goes with your degree or college achievements. You need to include the level of the qualification, the name of the degree and the name of the college not to mention the dates which you attended. I would also include your leaving certificate points and results here to save the employer looking for them later in the process. Experience and Achievements When listing the companies you have worked for, my opinion is that you should use the same format every time. The experience should be listed from the most recent back to the beginning of your career. Each role must list the company name, dates employed, industry, monetary turnover and your position. If you have worked in a number of roles in the one company, you need to clearly specify the continuity of your time there and the different positions you held. For each role I would separately list your responsibilities and achievements and list them in the third person. Describe your responsibilities according to the requirements of the job specification you are applying for. As an accountant or finance professional, the more senior you are, the more important your achievements become. Potential employers want to see where you have run projects, cut costs, improved processes and generally exceeded expectations. IT and Software Skills These are extremely important to have on your CV as a role with a prospective employer could depend on the systems exposure you have had. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I have had to do a specific search for an accountancy package or system and began my search from there. If you happen to be a super user of any system, again have it noted in black and white. It could be the difference in you or someone else getting the job, and I have seen it happen. Skills and Hobbies This area of an Accountancy CV is difficult to advise on. I would recommend that skills such as fluency in a language should always be included and even have their own section but if you would like to list them here that is also ok. I would not recommend you put skills like “fastest pint drinker” on your CV but at the same time, an innocent skill or achievement like being a beauty pageant winner or Ireland’s strongest man can alienate you or intimidate the interviewer so always be careful in that regard. The reality is, you will not do yourself any harm leaving hobbies off your CV altogether but this is something to take on a case by case basis and speak to your recruiter if you are unsure. Proof Reading 9 out of 10 recruiters will agree with me when I say that seeing a CV with a number of grammatical or spelling errors is a major annoyance. The opinion is that if a candidate cannot take care while writing their CV, how much care and effort are they going to put into the role? Your CV is a ticket to an interview and can get you in front of the right people so there are no excuses if you cannot do a simple spell check before you send it off.