Direct Tax Recruitment: Q3 2021 Market Report

How active is the direct tax jobs market now we have passed the halfway point of 2021?

The theme across the UK job market, let alone tax, is the sheer abundance of vacancies out there. Tax has made headlines across the globe as governments seek to recover pandemic costs, and although it seems it’s individuals footing the bill, it’s now more important than ever for companies to have efficient tax processes.

How has this affected the world of professional services? Well, the work is coming in thick and fast, and the domino effect is evident when looking at recruitment demand.

Many top 20 accountancy firms in the UK put a hold on graduate recruitment at the beginning of the pandemic. The good news is many of these firms are now bringing on a record-breaking number of grads. A great response for those who missed out in the last rounds of recruitment. The bad news? Gaps have been left at the Associate, Assistant Manager, and Manager level. General corporate tax markets and private client teams are competing hard for the candidates out there, so if you’re thinking about making a move… perhaps now is the best time?

One market that’s often candidate-driven is the tax legal sector. If you’re NQ or above, then you’ll be relieved to hear that most firms from Tier 1 down, are on the search. Predominantly this is London based, however there have been similar movements up and down the country.

Specific sectors or generalists?

Financial services play a huge part in the UK economy, so naturally, a lot of investment is put into tax teams to service clients in this sector. There’s been a significant increase in demand for those with M&A and restructuring experience, in both law and advisory firms (with FS experience). Most of these positions have been for qualified (ACA/CTA) tax advisors, who have had serious project-based experience.

Many of the firms outside the Big 4 have been competing against one another for generalist tax professionals (from a client portfolio perspective) and this competitiveness is apparent when looking at benefits and flexibility! Working from home, working from anywhere, or working hours suited to you have been adopted as official policy by many firms. Those who haven’t brought something to the table…are missing out!

Generalising in your sector is a brilliant opportunity to gain exposure and decide what it is that you enjoy most. Many firms will give you the option to specialise further down the line.

R&D Tax Credits…a rise in boutiques?

R&D tax credit boutiques are in a unique position where they often compete with big players in the field. Over the past 5 years, there’s been a substantial recruitment growth in this sector, with no signs of letting up. The Big 4 and some of the larger mid-tier firms have their own specialised teams and they generally go after more complex work. However, boutiques have found their place by targeting smaller businesses that might not have access to an all-knowing finance team/3rd party provider.

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