The specialist finance recruitment consultancy Morgan Hunt is warning employers to hire skilled finance professionals without delay if they wish to capitalise on the UK’s return to growth and avert a skills shortage that could hobble their businesses.

Commenting on a new report from his company showing a rise in finance vacancies, Morgan Hunt director Paul Thomas said: “After five years of deep recession the UK economy is growing and firms need to take a closer look at how they are hiring, because without planning for talent when employment conditions change they risk being left behind in the skills chase.”

Pay rates for Umbrella Company Employees contracting in the finance sector have been rising, the report reveals, as indeed have salaries for permanent recruits – both of which indicate a tightening skills market.

Employers are currently facing skills shortages in a broad range of accountancy divisions, with economic growth figures unlikely to be the wisest guide to recruitment decisions. Such data is always retrospective, the report argues, whereas employers need to act now to attract the skilled staff they need if they wish to prevent their own growth plans from being stifled.

Despite rising employer confidence, candidates are being more cautious; they are often opting to stay put despite the availability of new opportunities. This may require a change in recruitment methods.

Mr Thomas urges employers to identify the underlying skills of finance candidates. He added: “Being too focused on trying to find an exact match in keywords, phrases and sound bites does not necessarily yield the best person.”

Contractor pay rates look set to rise in the sector.

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