“It’s a LIQUIDITY issue … and not just a SCARCITY issue”

As we near the end of 2021, following numerous conversations internally within the team @BDORecruitment, I wanted to share our own thoughts on what the Jobs Market ‘out-look’ will be for the next 3 months and beyond.

We believe that the situation Hiring Manager(s) currently face is more of a ‘liquidity’ issue, with specific reference to the Accounting & Finance Market (& we suspect other Market segments also) rather than primarily a candidate ‘scarcity’ issue. In fact, candidate scarcity is a sub-set of the liquidity issue.

What we mean by “liquidity” is that the individuals are actually in the Accounting & Finance Market at the moment to fill the lower number vacancies that are currently ‘open’ but these same individuals are not moving from their current positions for a number of reasons, some of which we have outlined below:

  • Happy in their current “working from home” situation
  • Guaranteed flexibility with their current employer
  • The stress of learning a new role/responsibilities from their ‘Kitchen Table’ is high
  • A lot of finance contract assignments are being extended rather than a Hiring Manager opening a permanent vacancy and going to the ‘Market’ to fill the role
  • The concern about being placed on probation again in a permanent role or a long term contract role. The two biggest specific issues re probation are:
    • greater uncertainty of being ‘kept’ after the probation is extended. This uncertainty relates to the organisational financial stability (or decisions to Head-Office cost-cutting decisions) rather than due to the ability of the individual to successfully undertake the role.
    • Mortgage/Lender Banks are paying a higher level of attention to individuals who are on probation periods – either in permanent / contract positions.
  • The FOMO (fear of missing out) effect is greatly reduced because nobody else is leaving their team / company (NOTE: The FOMO effect is seen most tangibly within teams/organisations when 2 or more people leave within a short period of time)
  • The various horror stories of other people / colleagues who have joined a new organization and have had to work remotely since they joined.

These individuals feelings of isolation/non-connection to the new organization is huge because they have not had the opportunity to ‘live’ the culture of the organization by being inside the “Office” to learn it.

When companies decide to direct their finance/other teams to ‘work from home’, this causes an already challenging situation to source candidates for vacancies to get worse because of the ‘liquidity’ issue mentioned above.

It also creates a circular situation in that Hiring Managers within these companies, unless they are really under severe pressure to hire new employees, tend to delay / ‘put on hold’ the vacancies they currently have on their teams as they too wait for some sort of return to the office/hybrid working.

In addition, specific industries/sectors that were already experiencing a candidate shortage pre-Covid (e.g. Accounting Practices, Tax vacancies, Audit vacancies, Cost Accounting vacancies) have seen the impact the most as what was a challenging situation pre-Covid has become exacerbated now.

So until we solve the challenges posed by the mindset arising from being directed to WFH, the ‘liquidity’ issue in the Accounting & Finance Labour Market will continue for the foreseeable future.

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