Every year, Howett Thorpe undertakes an in-depth analysis of the salary trends within commerce and industry across the South East. We have collated our data across an 18-month period from 2018 to 2019, based on the uncertainty that remains within the labour market — particularly the fight for top talent.

Here’s a rundown of some of our main findings we expect will continue into 2020/2021…

Roles in high demand

Salaries within the transactional and non-qualified market remained relatively consistent throughout 2019, and there was significant demand for roles within the sales ledger and credit control functions.

Some businesses have streamlined their headcount within the finance function and as such, we have seen a high demand for accounts assistants throughout the past year, and we predict this demand will continue through 2020.

Across commerce, there is still a high demand for part and newly qualified accountants. Where top talent has been at a premium, we’re seeing many candidates receive multiple offers, which in turn pushes the salaries bandings up. Salaries can also vary greatly depending on candidates’ qualifications.

Within the qualified and senior roles, finance directors are still in high demand across the South East as businesses continue to focus on mergers and acquisitions in the marketplace. Companies operating in commerce and industry will be especially keen to focus on sustainability and growth and will, therefore, be looking for candidates who have the skill and aptitude needed to support their future business plans.

As well as boosted demand for roles in the above sectors, payroll has also seen an increase in job flow — a trend we predict will continue going into this year.

Legislation change

The senior interim market, in particular, is set for a shakeup when the off-payroll working rules kick in for the private sector from April 2020. This will put the IR35 status of a limited company worker in the hands of the client employing them which, in turn, will affect how their tax and NI is collected. 

Flexibility will be key

Another notable change we have seen is candidates are becoming less concerned about salary changes — favouring flexibility instead.

Benefits packages and workplace flexibility are increasingly becoming a big consideration in the candidate’s decision-making process, as they seek roles with a flexible employer that gives them the facility to work from home or alter their hours around their lifestyle.

As a result, a flexible approach will be crucial for companies looking to recruit (and retain) staff over the next 12 months.

To view the full Salary Survey, please fill in the form here.