The accounting and finance sector is undergoing a rapid transformation, driven by technological innovations, changing customer expectations, and evolving regulatory requirements. These changes have significant implications for the talent acquisition and recruitment strategies of accounting and finance firms, as they need to attract, hire, and retain the best accountants in the market.
However, finding and hiring top talent is not an easy task, especially in a competitive and uncertain environment. According to a survey by Robert Half, 92% of hiring managers face challenges in hiring skilled talent, and 39% of them plan to increase starting salaries in 2024 to attract and keep highly skilled workers. Moreover, the skills needed in accounting and finance roles have an increasingly short shelf life, as positions filled today will require up to 10 new skills within 18 months.
Therefore, accounting and finance firms must adopt a proactive and strategic approach to talent acquisition, which goes beyond traditional recruitment. It will involve a planned and structured complex of actions that the HR department must do to get the best employees.
In this article, we will explore some of the emerging trends and predictions for talent acquisition in the accounting and finance sector for 2024, and provide some best practices and tips for accounting and finance firms to succeed in this area.
Talent Acquisition Trends and Predictions for 2024
Here are some of the key trends and predictions that will shape the talent acquisition landscape for accounting and finance firms in 2024:
Generative AI will be widely used to create and automate the candidate experience
Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content or data based on existing data or inputs. For example, generative AI can create realistic images, videos, texts, or sounds based on a given prompt or context. In talent acquisition, generative AI can be used to create personalized job descriptions, resumes, cover letters, interview questions, feedback, or offers based on the candidate’s profile, preferences, skills, or behavior. This can enhance the candidate experience by making it more relevant, engaging, and efficient.
Talent pools will become more diverse and decentralized
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work and virtual learning, which has opened up new opportunities for talent acquisition. Accounting and finance firms can now access a wider pool of candidates from different locations, backgrounds, and sources. For example, they can tap into online platforms, communities, or networks that offer courses, certifications, or projects related to accounting and finance skills. They can also leverage social media, referrals, or alumni networks to find passive or hidden candidates who may not be actively looking for a job.
Candidates will be more selective and demanding about their employment value proposition
The employment value proposition (EVP) is the set of benefits and rewards that an organization offers to its employees in exchange for their work and contribution. It includes aspects such as compensation, benefits, career development, work environment, culture, values, mission, and purpose. In 2024, candidates will have higher expectations and more options when it comes to choosing their employer. They will look for meaningful work that aligns with their personal goals and values. They will also seek flexible work arrangements that allow them to balance their work and life priorities. They will also evaluate the employer’s reputation, social responsibility, diversity, inclusion, and innovation.
Talent Acquisition Best Practices and Tips for 2024
To succeed in talent acquisition in 2024, accounting and finance firms need to adopt some best practices and tips that can help them attract, hire, and retain top talent. Here are some of them:
Use data and analytics to inform talent acquisition decisions
Data and analytics can provide valuable insights into the talent market trends, needs, gaps, preferences, behavior patterns of candidates. They can also help measure the effectiveness of talent acquisition strategies by tracking key metrics such as time-to-hire cost-per-hire quality-of-hire retention rate candidate satisfaction etc. Accounting and finance firms should use data-driven tools such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), candidate relationship management (CRM), or talent analytics platforms to collect analyze visualize report on data related to talent acquisition.
Build a strong employer brand that showcases your EVP
Employer branding is the process of creating a positive image of your organization as an employer in the eyes of potential current former employees as well as other stakeholders such as customers partners investors etc. A strong employer brand can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors attract more qualified candidates increase your conversion rates reduce your turnover rates and enhance your reputation. To build a strong employer brand, you need to communicate your EVP clearly and consistently across all channels and touchpoints. You also need to showcase your culture values mission vision achievements impact stories testimonials reviews awards etc. You also need to engage with your target audience through social media events webinars podcasts blogs newsletters etc.
Focus on skills and potential rather than credentials and experience
As the skills needed in accounting and finance roles change rapidly, accounting and finance firms need to look beyond the traditional criteria of credentials and experience when hiring candidates. They need to focus more on the skills and potential of candidates, such as their ability to learn adapt innovate collaborate solve problems communicate etc. They also need to use more objective and valid methods to assess these skills and potential, such as online tests simulations case studies projects portfolios etc. They also need to provide more opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their skills and potential, such as trial periods internships apprenticeships mentoring coaching etc.
Cultivate long-term relationships with candidates and talent communities
Talent acquisition is not a one-time transaction, but a continuous process of building and maintaining relationships with candidates and talent communities. Accounting and finance firms need to adopt a proactive and strategic approach to talent acquisition, which involves identifying sourcing engaging nurturing converting retaining re-engaging candidates and talent communities. They need to use CRM tools to manage their talent pipelines, segment their talent pools, personalize their communication, provide relevant content, solicit feedback, offer support, etc. They also need to leverage their employees’ networks, referrals, recommendations, endorsements, etc., to expand their reach and credibility.
Provide a positive and seamless candidate experience throughout the talent acquisition journey
Candidate experience is the perception of candidates about how they are treated by an organization during the talent acquisition process. A positive and seamless candidate experience can increase the likelihood of candidates applying accepting joining staying recommending an organization. A negative and disjointed candidate experience can have the opposite effect. Accounting and finance firms need to provide a positive and seamless candidate experience throughout the talent acquisition journey, from the first contact to the final offer and beyond. They need to ensure that their talent acquisition process is clear transparent consistent fair respectful responsive timely personalized etc. They also need to provide constructive feedback recognition appreciation guidance support etc., to candidates at every stage.
Other industries that face similar talent acquisition challenges
The healthcare industry is facing a shortage of qualified professionals, especially nurses, doctors, and specialists. According to the World Health Organization, there will be a global shortfall of 18 million health workers by 20301. Some of the factors contributing to this challenge are the aging population, the increasing demand for healthcare services, the high turnover rate, the low retention rate, and the lack of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
The technology industry is facing a gap between the supply and demand of skilled talent, especially in emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data science. According to a report by Korn Ferry, there will be a global talent deficit of 4.3 million technology workers by 20304. Some of the factors contributing to this challenge are the rapid pace of innovation, the changing skill requirements, the competition from other industries, and the lack of education and training opportunities.
The manufacturing industry is facing a difficulty in attracting and retaining talent, especially in advanced manufacturing roles such as engineers, technicians, and operators. According to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, there will be a need for 4.6 million manufacturing workers by 2028, but 2.4 million of them may go unfilled due to the skills gap. Some of the factors contributing to this challenge are the negative perception of the industry, the aging workforce, the mismatch between education and industry needs, and the impact of automation and digitalization.
Talent acquisition is a critical function for accounting and finance firms in 2024, as they face the challenges and opportunities of a changing market environment. By following the trends predictions best practices tips discussed in this article, accounting and finance firms can improve their talent acquisition outcomes and gain a competitive edge in the talent market.