Q1 2019: Market Insights for FS & Insurance Indirect Tax

Each quarter, our specialist Indirect Tax team monitors the number of in-house vacancies released onto the job market across Europe to provide you with a quarterly overview of recruiting trends. The data below provides a digestible snapshot to the in-house market from adverts posted directly from employers.*

*Note – we omit the number of confidential mandates that HJ are assigned or job adverts posted by other recruitment firms. It should also be highlighted that many vacancies go unadvertised due to confidential or highly sensitive searches.

What happened in Q1?

Q1 2019 has shown a decline in activity when compared with Q4 of 2018 which, in many ways, provides a surprising insight. Naturally, the perception of the new year is an increased frequency of job openings, but with the new financial year looming, and European uncertainty surrounding Brexit, expectations haven’t quite been met. Some of the bigger players in the financial services world have naturally advertised consistently, but across the sector as a whole, it’s been far and few between.

Although there have been fewer vacancies than predicted, it hasn’t been an inactive market. Openly advertised UK & BENELUX roles across the financial services & insurance industry have amounted to a total of 22!

The majority of new vacancies have been at an Assistant Manager / Manager grade. One subjective argument to explain this could be that there’s a demand for professionals with a higher degree of complex indirect tax experience.

Key trends to note:
  • Leadership grades – not represented in either region. A recurring theme overflowing from 2018.
  • Senior Manager – another grade that hasn’t seen activity over the past 3 months. One which could potentially be the rise in internal promotions (see interim).
  • Manager – the show-stopper level of Q1. The Manager grade made up 46.2% of the UK market, and 22.2% of the BENELUX region: an optimistic statistic for anyone 5+ years into their career. The biggest challenge employers face is competition with one another. There’s a clear demand for this level of candidate, making it harder for the advertising employer to stand out from the crowd.
  • Assistant Manager – with the differentiation of job titles in mind, recruitment has stayed strong at this level. This a surprising statistic what with the required size of the indirect tax team needed to accommodate such a position. 30.8% of the UK & Ireland come in at this level, whereas a staggering 44.4% are represented by the BENELUX region.
  • Analyst / Senior Analyst – contrary to the trend of 2018, there’s been a significant decrease in the demand (a combined 4 positions across both regions). For many smaller companies, the sort of responsibilities that are aligned with this level can often be outsourced to external compliance providers.
  • Interim – only 2 interim roles were advertised (making up 15.4%), however, both were at a senior level. One was a ‘Head of Indirect Tax’ position, whilst the other was at a ‘VAT Specialist’ (Senior Manager) level. With speculation, notice periods at this level are notoriously long, and interim roles such as these, are often a result of a new permanent member of staff working out their notice/gardening leave.

At first glance, recruitment levels haven’t been on the same upward trend that 2018 displayed, but finishing a quarter where it was never expected to be the most active, I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of quality roles that have been advertised. With the end of the financial year looming, and perhaps a clearer post-Brexit deal / no-deal, we could well see a drastic change for Q2.

Please also read our Indirect Tax and Customs & Trade Compliance insights.

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