Climbing the Tax Career Ladder

by India Stock

We recently conducted a survey into how and why tax professionals move within the market. Our survey respondents were mostly in permanent positions (84%) and over half of all respondents had been in their current position for 1-5 years. When asked if they saw themselves moving companies in the next 12 months, 44% said yes whilst 23% of the remaining respondents were unsure. This is indicative of growing confidence in the market; even those who have been in their role for a relatively short period would consider a move.

In our recent salary guide, we discovered that the top three incentives that a company can offer to aid retention are a good working environment, career progression opportunities and a competitive salary. The results from our Climbing the Career Ladder survey clearly show that career progression is also a key driver for why tax professionals, especially those that are in permanent roles, make a career move. As tax teams outside of the FTSE-100 tend to be lean, it’s often the case to move up you will have to move out or enter into a “filling boots” situation.

Interim professionals also aim to progress into more senior roles, however, there is inevitably a greater deal of fluidity in contract work with desire for consistent work overtaking a desire for progression. However, there is a clear trend for contractors commanding higher day rates year on year and having a higher take home than their permanent counterparts.

What stood out for us was that most respondents found their current position via a recruitment agency, with the next most popular choice (referrals) 35% behind. Candidates who applied directly to roles found themselves significantly less successful, with most that we spoke to struggling to get initial feedback. They were also then unable to apply via an agency to the same roles, limiting their chances of success.

Another notable trend our consultants have observed is that many tax professionals are moving between a wide variety of sectors as the in-demand skills are largely transferable. This is allowing exciting career progression routes to be created for those want to grow and diversify within tax, as opposed to broader finance where roles are often sector restrictive.

It is evident that 2016 is a good time to make a career move for tax professionals and many are making the most of this opportunity. The findings of the survey support our Tax team’s experience and understanding of the market -our consultants have observed growing confidence in the market as it becomes increasingly candidate-led. Consequently, clients are rising to the challenge and offering incentives such as salary increases and bonuses in order to retain top talent and remain competitive in multiple offer scenarios.

If you are interested in finding a new opportunity please contact James at james.young@communicate-rs.com or visit our job search page to see our current roles.