London, 5th January 2010
Financial News reports that "The first decade of the 21st century has been marked by excess, instability and increased risk". As the decade draws to a close I wanted to give you an insight into my view of the taxation market over the last 12 months and hypothesise about what 2010 might bring.
Without doubt it has been a tough year for candidates looking for a role, for clients attempting to obtain sign off to recruit and (of course) for recruiters. I feel the frustration of candidates who have witnessed roles that come to market only to be withdrawn in short order. I also feel the frustration of clients with a clear need to add resource but no budget to do so. We did not see the expected post summer pick up in roles and the market is certainly not free and flowing at the moment. There are still a number of interesting in-house roles currently being fulfilled by Big 4 secondees.
RSM Tenon has come into existence creating the UK's 7th largest accountancy firm. This seems to be a good move for Tenon in creating a better geographical balance.
In terms of recruitment, the Big 4 have generally been very quiet with only one of the firms consistently recruiting throughout the year. The hottest area within the profession is tax technology/tax transformations. We remain very keen on talking to candidates that have implemented SAP or Oracle from a taxation perspective. Private Client tax is another specialism that has been in demand at the Partner level.
We have also seen law firms recruiting transfer pricing professionals with Freshfields and CMS Cameron McKenna both making senior hires this year. We expect this trend to continue.
What will 2010 bring?
The CBI recently commented that "The outlook is brightening as the global economy finds its feet, although we need to keep our nerve during early 2010". I think that this is also applicable to the recruitment market in general. We will likely see a number of new mandates come to the market in Q1. We also expect some movement between the banks post bonus round with potential higher base salaries tempting professionals to make a move. We expect candidates with financial services tax experience to be in demand in 2010. Also, in talking to my contacts within the Big 4, the transactions tax groups are starting to get busier. There may be some demand at the manager level for professionals with private equity experience. Within industry and commerce we are aware a number of roles that are expected to come to the market early in the New Year. With confidence generally improving we expect this to be a more active market than that of 2009
It is also possible that we may see more consolidation amongst the accounting firms with plenty of rumours flying around at the moment!