La Défense, Paris, France

Neil Johnson is ACCA careers editor

The European finance recruitment market is highly diverse, varying greatly from country to country. It has, though, one common factor: the challenging nature of recruiting and retaining accounting and finance talent. As a result, 2023 will be another year of interesting opportunities for finance professionals across the continent.


Ludovic Bessière, business director for accountancy and finance at Hays France, says: ‘Finance and accounting recruitment has little to do with the economy. Even during the global financial crisis, recruitment in the sector was pretty strong, because whatever the state of the economy, companies still need accountants, particularly in France where laws and fiscal regulations are numerous. Roles within auditing and accountancy firms are the hardest to fill, though all sectors are affected.

‘It’s now the candidates who choose their job, not the employer the candidate’

‘In the years before Covid-19, it was largely senior professionals who could be choosy in the jobs market, but now all levels can be picky. High on their list of demands are homeworking, flexible hours, market salary, modern IT systems and software, and clear career prospects. It’s now the candidates who choose their job, not the employer choosing the candidate.

‘Despite this, top employers are still highly selective in their search for the talent they need to anticipate and manage the challenges of tomorrow, especially in the areas of business intelligence, data analysis, automation and global expansion.

‘Industry will look for accountants who are more sensitive to the business – sales, marketing, production, R&D – to work hand in hand with all aspects of the company. As a result, candidates must be aware that soft skills such as teamwork, communication and flexibility will be just as important as technical skills.’

‘The chief motivation for change is salary, but also a higher degree of flexibility or an interesting project’

Czech Republic

Petra Kadlečková, team supervisor for accountancy and finance at Hays Czech Republic, says: ‘Accountants and controllers continue to be among the most filled roles. We see a greater tendency to change jobs because of the rising cost of living, with current employers often unable to meet their salary demands. The chief motivation for change is salary, but also a higher degree of flexibility, an interesting project, or a change for career development. Working from home for at least part of the week is already viewed as standard by employees.

‘Tax specialists are increasingly aware of their value and shortage, with the financial expectations of qualified professionals reflecting this. Even juniors have much higher demands, expecting up to 40% more pay than for junior roles in accounting or controlling.

‘In 2022, salaries in the financial sector grew by 8–10% on average, with the most significant increases in more junior and operational roles. Given the changes in macroeconomic indicators, rising organisational operating costs and energy price increases, we expect salary growth to be lower this year, at around 7%.’

‘Flexible working is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s expected’


Charlotte Jacobs, head of corporate functions at Robert Walters Zurich, says: ‘The high demand for accounting and finance professionals in 2022 saw companies in all types of industries and of all sizes hiring, a trend we expect to carry through to 2023. In-demand skills include business acumen, commercial understanding and strong communication skills with stakeholders at all levels.’

Olivier Pietrantoni, manager for accounting and finance at Robert Walters Zurich, adds: ‘In Geneva, we foresee high demand within the commodities trading industry. Flexible working is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s something that is expected. If companies want to attract the best talent, they must adapt.’

‘IFRS experts and accountants with more than five years’ experience are highly sought after’


Vivien Pásztler, accountancy and finance managing consultant at Hays Hungary, says: ‘Despite the uncertain macroeconomic and inflationary environment, we still expect there to be plenty of open positions in 2023.

‘Changes in the inflationary environment will have the biggest impact on salaries in 2023. After inflation-tracking to 20–25% salary bumps in 2022, further increases will continue this year, but at a slower rate. We predict a moderate increase for fresh graduates and junior finance specialists, who could earn 10–15% more compared with last year, while salaries for mid- and senior-level finance experts could increase by 15–20% on average.

‘IFRS experts and accountants with more than five years’ experience are highly sought after, commanding pay rises of 25–30% when changing jobs last year, a trend expected to continue in 2023.’

‘Despite a tough economic environment, the war for talent will intensify’


Gerald Fahnenbruck, senior department head for finance, interim and digital at Hays Germany, says: ‘Latest figures suggest that the outlook for accounting and finance hiring is extremely good for 2023. Despite a tough economic environment, the war for talent will intensify, not least because demographic changes are having a particular impact on various roles.

‘In addition, finance professionals are heavily involved in a wide range of projects in the areas of digitalisation, reporting, restructuring and ESG. We expect demand for positions such as company accountants and controllers in particular to increase again this year.’

‘Communication skills, empathy and understanding are extremely important’


Karolina Lis, director at Hays Poland, says: ‘The market for finance and accounting positions is evolving, which goes hand in hand with new opportunities. On the one hand, we are seeing the further development of specialisations in tax accounting and FP&A. On the other, new interdisciplinary fields are emerging at the interface between finance and IT, such as database analytics and business intelligence.

Justyna Chmielewska, executive manager at Hays Poland, adds: ‘In the recruitment of managerial positions, in addition to substantive knowledge and analytical skills, soft skills play a key role. Employers are looking for candidates with the qualities of a leader who will not only implement top-down strategic actions but also build effective and motivated teams. Effective communication skills, empathy and understanding are therefore extremely important.

‘Salaries are increasing; however, the rate of increase will not be as high as in 2022. Recently, the largest salary increases have been for specialist and expert positions. Senior and independent accountants, financial controllers, financial analysts and FP&A were able to count on increases of 20%, while experts in the fields of tax and audit were able to count on salary increases of 15%.’

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