With the accounting and finance industry poised to grow 10 percent over the next seven years — that's about 773,000 new jobs — you can be sure your organization is going to have a lot of recruiting to do to keep up. Add to that the fact that unemployment rates in the sector are even lower than the national average, and you can see why 40 percent of hiring managers in the accounting and finance space cite "recruiting and retaining talent" as the biggest challenge their organizations face.
So what can you do to attract — and retain — top accounting and finance talent, especially for the industry's most in-demand roles? Here we offer four ways to address some of today's biggest recruitment pain points in the industry, to get you on the road to overcoming those challenges.
make your salary and benefits competitive
Now that salary calculators and employer review sites are more popular than ever, today's job seekers in the accounting and finance space know their value — and what it takes to get the compensation they want. And when it comes to critical roles like accounts payable clerks (who make sure your employees and vendors are paid) and financial analysts (who measure the financial health of your company), you have to make sure salaries are commensurate.
Taking the time to audit your compensation and benefits package to be competitive for both your industry and marketplaces will put you in a much better position to get the best candidates to come play for your team. Here are some steps you can do to make your salary and benefits competitive:
1. audit your compensation levels
There are few things more frustrating than losing a candidate to a competitor who offered a larger salary, so audit your compensation program to make sure you're as competitive as can be. Kick off the process by asking questions like:
- Are the salaries across your company commensurate with the workload required of each employee, or are your payroll managers only making slightly more than your accounting clerks?
- Does your current comp package motivate your employees to do their best work every day?
- As employees advance within the organization, do their salary increases match the uptick in responsibilities?
2. make employees' lives flexible
With web-based tools available for many daily functions, candidates now see benefits that promote a better work-life balance — telecommuting, remote work and flexible schedules — as "must haves" rather than "nice to haves." Even for managers, don't assume they need to be in the office every day to watch over operations, now that they can interact with their teams closely via digital channels.
3. have a backup plan
In such a candidate-friendly job market, you need to have a portfolio of additional benefits ready to offer in case negotiations get hot. For example, if you can't match the candidate's desired salary, be prepared to offer other perks like a signing bonus or an extra week of vacation.
source passive candidates
Long gone are the days of posting your open position on a job board and waiting for the resumes to pour in. Putting your best foot forward in this ultra-competitive market means seeking out passive talent — those who are too engaged at their current jobs to actively look for new roles, or don't even realize how many opportunities are available for their skill set. Here are some steps you can do to source passive candidates:
1. prioritize internal recruiting
Before looking outward, make sure you're looking inward. Building an internal recruiting program means having access to candidates who are already familiar with the ins and outs of your company. And once your employees know there's room for regular advancement as they demonstrate their value — like a progression from staff accountant to payroll manager — they'll become happier and more engaged.
2. partner with a staffing firm
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the heavy competition out there, consider partnering with a staffing firm to gain access to a nationwide pool of passive candidates who aren't crawling the job boards. Plus, their expertise in all aspects of recruiting in this space will immediately add value to your operations.
3. leverage referrals from your current superstars
Not only do referral candidates make a recruiter's life easier, they also stay with a company 25 percent longer than those who come from job boards. So take your hiring game to the next level by developing a program in which you incentivize your employees (read: referral bonus!) to suggest people they know — and trust — from their professional networks.
build your employer brand
Simply put, you're going to have a hard time attracting the best talent without a strong employer brand, now that 91 percent of job seekers cop to researching a company before applying for a position. And in an industry that's been dominated by the baby boomer generation, you're going to need strong branding across your digital channels to secure millennial and Gen Z talent. Here are some steps you can do to build your employer brand:
1. build a robust social media presence
The younger the job seeker, the more likely they are to use social media to learn about companies they're interested in working for. Meet these prospective employees where they already are to showcase your company culture — and in an industry often considered too buttoned-up and conservative, get creative in the ways you promote your company's mission and success stories.
2. about those stories ...
Content marketing can provide an insider's view into what makes your organization the best place to work. For example, start a company blog to share your company's latest projects, or produce a video series in which recently promoted employees discuss their advancement and speak to the ways your organization is providing the continuous training needed to further their career. And be sure to share all of your stories across your social channels!
3. keep tech-savvy talent top of mind
With only 10 percent of millennials and Gen Zers interested in finance careers, and new tech expected to eliminate 40 percent of basic accounting work by 2021, recruiting no longer means just finding people who are good with numbers. Explore ways to reach this critical professional segment with an employer brand that speaks to things like:
- diversity and inclusion initiatives
- a focus on creative roles in the industry, like digital product managers and UX designers
- opportunities for continuous learning and professional development
use technology to optimize your recruitment process
Looking for a new job can often consume your schedule as if it were a second job, so suffering through a confusing application portal or playing chronic phone tag to schedule an interview is going to make top candidates drop out — fast. Thankfully, recruiting technology is giving accounting and finance organizations access to new tools that simplify the recruitment process and make it a better experience for recruiter and candidate alike. Here are some steps you can do to optimize your recruitment process:
1. automate time-consuming manual processes
Integrate tools with AI-enabled virtual assistants to automate tasks like scheduling interviews and sending confirmation emails — which, in turn, will offer your HR department more time to strengthen your employer brand and build relationships with candidates who are already in the pipeline.
2. add flexibility to the interview process
Get that time-to-fill metric down by finding ways to better accommodate candidates' schedules. Especially when it comes to video interviews, on-demand platforms that let applicants record their answers to interview questions on their own schedule will mean being able to blaze through this step with speed and agility.
3. cut down the number of interview rounds
You're going to lose candidates if there are too many requirements involved in your interview process, so consider creating efficiencies such as:
- replacing a phone round with video, to learn more about the candidate's etiquette and professionalism before they step foot in your office
- condensing two (or more) in-person rounds into one, by replacing the one-on-one format with panel interviews
the top 5 roles in accounting and finance
Now that you have these insights into finding the best accounting and finance employees out there, take a look at these articles, which step you through how to hire for the most in-demand positions in the industry:accounts payable/receivable clerk credit and collections clerk/manager financial analyst payroll manager staff/senior accountant
And remember — if you're still feeling overwhelmed by the current state of affairs, a staffing partner can help. Start a conversation with one of Randstad's accounting and finance experts to see what they can do to match you with your next great employee. Or, head over to our Find Employees portal to browse potential candidates right now.