There is conflicting media evidence concerning the state of the UK job market. On the one hand, there are job losses in the public sector, but there are also promising signs that many new jobs are being created.
In my experience, there is now much more movement in the job market. People who have stayed in their jobs during the downturn are now feeling more confident about making a career move. This game of ‘musical chairs’ is creating many new opportunities for well-qualified accountancy and finance professionals.
My professional clients are securing new jobs more quickly than other occupations, as organisations have focused on cutting costs, increasing efficiencies and re-structuring their borrowings. Government spending cuts, including the knock-on effects in the education and health sectors, should sharpen demand for capable accountants.
I have always maintained that the government statistics and the data produced by recruitment consultants is misleading; some jobs can be found within the ‘hidden job market’ and can be accessed through networking. Many jobs lost in the banking, financial services and fund management sectors have been quietly replaced over the past three years.
To access the best jobs and to give yourself more choice in the opportunities open to you, you should use a combination of job-hunting tactics. It is worth considering which organisations you would most like to work for and create a target list of these. You should of course look at specialist job sites like GAAPweb, but also keep an eye on your target employers.
Use recruitment consultants wisely, by being clear on what you want and what you can offer. Although some employers are side-stepping recruitment consultants, many continue to use them for specialist hires because they relieve them of the burden of sifting large numbers of candidates and give them more reassurance than taking a direct hire.
The job market remains solid for those who are prepared to look a little harder.
Simon Broomer is a Senior Consultant at CareerBalance Ltd.