Business Tax Market Report, Q1 2023

Q1 is arguably one of the busiest periods in the business tax recruitment calendar.

Active roles remain high and Managers are busy making recruitment plans for the year ahead.

Being the start of a New Year, it is the natural time to review roles for the next 12 months and, typically, there are four common factors under review by hiring managers: 

  • What open jobs could be changed? Do we still have the same needs?
  • Are teams well-balanced (ie. bottom-heavy or top-heavy)?
  • Were there any weaknesses over the Q4 compliance season that need plugging?
  • What are the predicted hiring needs ahead of a new financial year? Especially useful for in-house tax recruitment.
What happened in professional services for business tax recruitment?

What’s clear within practice has been the demand for managers in transfer pricing, corporate tax, and R&D tax. Corporate tax professionals with real estate and transaction experience have been particularly well sought after. For R&D tax, it’s been IT experience in the highest demand! If that sounds like you, you’ve got the pick of the crop. 

Who’s been hiring? The Big 4 have certainly decreased their levels of hiring since Q3 and this has followed all the way through to the end of Q1. EY has essentially paused recruitment in many areas until that looming vote occurs! The other Big 4 firms are hiring, just not at the same level. April & May are often a tell for the next few month’s post promotion cycles (and for those looked over for promotion). 

The Spring budget certainly shook things up. Innovation reliefs and tax incentives roles have been a mainstay over the past few years, as has more “traditional” corporate tax roles. Two of the announcements in the Spring budget around a hike in the corporate tax main rate and the other around innovation tax reliefs suggest two things.

Firstly, corporate tax advisers and in-house specialists will be needed more than ever to help maintain, improve, and create tax processes for their clients/employers.

Secondly, under-resourced in-house finance/tax teams will need the services of R&D tax professionals, even more so, considering the enhanced benefits on offer. The tax credit will be worth £27 for every £100 spent if 40% of a business’s spending is 40% or above. There’s been plenty to digest, as there always is in the UK budgets. What is always clear is the need for talented tax professionals!

In-house recruitment across corporate tax and transfer pricing

Once again, managers have also been the main sticking point across the in-house recruitment market. One noticeable variation to this , however, has been the increase in ‘greenfield vacancies’, which typically require more managers who are at the more senior end of the grade, or at least hold some pre-existing in-house experience. Whilst many of these roles have had a leaning towards corporate tax, they often cover many other disciplines. If in the right business, this can be a great way to find progression in a side of tax that the business is not often known for. Progression doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with working in-house but the beauty of a greenfield role is that there’s more organic progression, so it’s not uncommon for the takers of these roles to eventually evolve into a Head of Tax’. Ultimately, such opportunities can often be created from these roles over the years, and it’s a great way to experience tax process changes and implementations. 

Sectors with the most demand? Unsurprisingly, the tech sector has taken a hit, apart from the hardware tech sector, which crosses over into manufacturing. Financial services is up there, but as are environmental services, particularly for the greenfield positions mentioned above. 

Salaries remain a key consideration among job seekers

As many of our readers know, we have been analysing data in preparation for releasing our Tax Salary Guide for 23/24. It’s coming along nicely, but in the meantime, some interesting points have arisen so far. 

Salary satisfaction (UK stats – 687 responses)

  • 79% of respondents rated their salary satisfaction at a 6 or above.
  • 0.3% rated it at a 1.
  • 5.1% gave a rating of 10. Plenty of room for improvement! 


  • 25% received no bonus. 
  • 6.5% received 30% or above. In several cases, some received a bonus of 100%. 

If you’d like to register your interest in a copy of our Tax Salary Guide, please click here.

Closing thoughts

It’s been a busy quarter, which will lead into another busy period before the summer holidays commence. If you’re a qualified tax professional in practice, you’ll have plenty of roles to choose from, with little competition. If you’re looking at the in-house market, you’ll have to tread more carefully around your sector of choice, there’ll be plenty of roles, but far more competition! 

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