Searching for a new tax job? Why you should look to build a relationship with a trusted Tax recruiter
We recently conducted our annual tax career satisfaction survey, which was completed by over 135 tax professionals across the North of England and as always offered a unique insight into some interesting questions.
This year we included a question that asked, 'If you were thinking about making a making a career move, how would you typically go about learning about new job opportunities?'. We found the results quite surprising in that just over half said that they would look to build a relationship with a trusted recruiter if they were looking for a new tax job, with the remainder opting to search on google, tax job boards on respond to unsolicited messages on LinkedIn.
Why is this surprising? It says to us that there is a fairly large portion of tax professionals who don't necessarily appreciate what a good tax recruiter can bring to the table when thinking about making a career move. This may be because they have had a bad experience with a recruiter in the past but also we feel that it is all too easy as a tax professional, where your skills are highly sought after and in high demand, to simply expect the opportunities to come to you, rather than to be proactive and search out the right role that is going to propel your career in the direction you want.
So, what's the problem? If your approach is to simply wait for a recruiter to message you (or a direct approach from a client) on Linkedin about a role, how do you know that particular role is the very best and most suitable in the market for you? If you trawl the job boards and apply for roles, often many will be out of date or already filled and you will find yourself inundated with calls from lots of recruiters and before you know it your CV sent out to lots of firms often by more than one recruiter (which is never a good look)! Also, how do you know that all the opportunities in the market are being advertised online? In fact, the best ones often aren't.
For many tax professionals, making a career move is up there with the most important decisions they will make in their life, along with say for example buying a new house. When buying a house you would take the time to assess all properties on the market, view lots of them and do your research to make an informed decision. You wouldn't simply just jump at the first property that came your way because someone told you that you were the perfect person for that house! Also, a good estate agent will often present houses to you before they even make it to market – something a good tax recruiter will do as well.
Why invest the time in building a relationship with a tax recruiter?
A bad recruiter won't have much experience of the tax market, won't be well connected and most importantly won't really be interested in you. To put it bluntly most only care about filling their open jobs and earning their commission asap irrespective of whether the job is right for you.
In contrast a good tax recruiter will take the time to discuss with you in detail what type of role and organisation are going to be the best fit to meet your career goals and aspirations.
They will present suitable opportunities to you across the whole of the market and also make sure you hear about new roles before anybody else does. They will be proactive and often present new opportunities to you that aren't advertised online by using their contacts and expertise in the local market to open the right doors for you.
Aside from assisting with your job search, they should also act as a sounding board during your whole career and be able to offer independent and genuine career guidance and advice based on their market knowledge and expertise. In summary, and with acknowledgement to the excellent slogan coined by the Dogs Trust – a good tax recruiter is for life not just for Christmas!
The proof of the pudding
Here are just a few recent examples of people we have placed in tax jobs across the North that were never advertised on job boards or LinkedIn and purely from the result of our proactive approach to finding you the right tax job.
Assistant Tax Manager – Top 10 firm, Manchester
VAT Director – Large independent firm, Leeds
Technical Director - R&D Boutique, Liverpool
Private Client Senior Manager – Big 4 firm, Manchester
Transfer Pricing Associate – Top 10 firm, Manchester
Private Client Senior Manager – Independent firm, Leeds
Contact us if you would like a confidential discussion about your career and the tax market across the North of England, and one of our friendly and highly experienced tax recruitment consultants will be pleased to help!
5 tips for helping your career progress post lockdown.
At that the point that the country went into lockdown in late March there will, inevitably, have been a number of people who were thinking about the possibility of starting to look for a new job (there always are at any point in time). Since then many people have been WFH and have perhaps been less busy than normal so have had some more headspace and will have been reflecting on their current jobs and thinking that a career move might be a good idea. This is a phenomenon well known to recruiters who frequently find a rise in applicants after summer holidays and prolonged Christmas breaks.
So, it is certain that a good number of tax professionals will be keen to find their next job. However, whilst many businesses and professional service firms have put their recruitment plans on ice it may feel to prospective job seekers that their desire to move is going to be frustrated in the short term. Whilst that may be true there are still things that you can do so that you are well placed to move from a position of strength once the market picks up (and it certainly will at some stage).
So here are our five top tips of things you can currently focus so you can spring into action when the time is right.
1. Dust off your CV and bring it up to date. Think of new areas of expertise you have developed, interesting projects you have worked on, or new management or BD skills you have gained.
2. Analyse what you really like / do not like about your current role and your motivation for wanting to move jobs. Look at people in your team / firm doing the job that you would do if promoted – is that what you want and are aspiring towards?
3. Do, some blue sky thinking – if you could wave a magic wand what would your ideal job look like? List all the features that you would want in that dream job then prioritise the various aspects. This will help focus on the key drivers for you.
4. Take advantage of the many webinars that are currently available to keep up to date technically, broaden both your tax skills and other important soft skills.
5. Start / resume a dialogue with a trusted recruiter who can sense check your thoughts and plans and then, down the line, help you make the move you want at precisely the right time.
Tax Career Satisfaction Survey -2020
We received a record number of responses again this year to our Career Satisfaction Survey from a broad spectrum of tax professionals across the North of England and would like to say a big thank you to all our contacts who took the time to take part in the survey.
Amongst the interesting findings this year include the following: -
On the subject of homeworking - 53% of respondents were able to work from home at least a day or two a week whilst 62% stated that the ability to work from home at least part of the time was either extremely or very important to them.
On Employee motivation - the most important factor was "feeling valued and respected" (but only by a "short-head" from feeling well remunerated) and when it comes to changing jobs the most important factor was to achieve a better work /life balance (same as last year).
On Diversity in the workplace - 26% of respondents stated that their employer has introduced measures to improve diversity in the workplace they have seen evidence that the policy was succeeding.
Please email us if you would like to receive our full report and results of the survey.
Although the survey was anonymous, respondents had the chance to leave contact details if they wanted to enter a prize champagne draw. That draw has now been made and the lucky winner has been informed!
Why do people really change jobs?
I interview all ages of candidates and it surprises me how mature and highly accomplished or younger, overtly energised individuals can lose their confidence in the workplace if they end up in a work environment that's at odds with their natural work style or ideal stimulus. It's only a matter of time before the discord will show itself in either quality of work or motivation. That's why it's crucial to find the right fit – on an organisational and personal level.
When people have worked in a role for several years this brings with it a level of comfort and knowledge, an invisible protective ring around them of skills and expertise they become known for. Yet even these accomplished individuals are not always happy in their work. So, what is it that makes people consider a new role? Obviously, salary packages and promotion prospects always play a part and recently the chance to have a more flexible work pattern has been a major motivator, but in my experience, the top 3 underlying reasons people look to change jobs are these:
1. Not feeling appreciated – 40+ hours a week is longer than we spend with our families; in the workplace it's human nature to want to be around people you actually like, and enjoy working with, but when the long hours working culture dominates your horizons, that's a red flag you should take note of and consider a move.
2. Boredom - pigeon holed into a set of skills that gets the job done with no consideration of other possibilities often frustrates those requiring a deeper sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction. This can happen at any seniority level, and despite exploration into other prospects, some employers remain closed to future possibilities due to uneasiness with change – often a deep-seated or traditionally cultural factor in a workplace.
3. Stagnation - when the boss doesn't ask the right questions or if they do, how closely do they listen to the answers around employee satisfaction? People can feel ignored and unheard when their leader is ambiguous; it's about caring, as an individual - what matters to you? and in the wider context of the team dynamic - the impact an individual's happiness and job satisfaction can collectively yield.
Longman Tax Recruitment
In house tax - market update
The local economy has been steadily growing in recent years; and skill shortages are now commonly seen across many industries and professions and this seem to be showing no sign of slowing. Skills shortages create workplace pressure, and this is especially true within the tax world, where skill shortages are especially prevalent. Organisations need to be clear on how best to tackle the immediate gaps and ideally address this for the longer term.
It is certainly true to say that it is a candidate driven market and these skills deficiencies are a continuing challenge for employers recruiting into in-house tax teams. A few years ago, an employer may have received a handful of CVs per vacancy and now you will be lucky to receive one or two totally relevant applicants. That said a move in house is still seen as a very attractive proposition for many tax specialists.
At Longman Tax Recruitment we have observed a couple of interesting market trends.
Firstly, the number of organisations in the North who have in-house tax functions has grown in the last couple of years. We are now seeing a regular pattern whereby a business "dips it's toe in the water" and brings in its first tax specialist having thought about it long and hard - and then in many cases within a couple of years they have look to recruit one, or perhaps two, more tax specialists once they have seen the value the first recruit has brought to the business.
Another recent trend we have observed is that most in-house roles we fill are with candidates who have previous in-house experience whereas once upon a time the primary pool of candidates for such roles came from the big 4 / group A firms. Maybe this is just a reflection that there are more in-house tax professionals in the region nowadays or perhaps it is a recognition of the slightly different skill set that someone in-house has from some-one in the profession.
So, in-house tax teams and indeed the accounting & tax profession in the North continues to be busy and grow. Tax is an increasingly higher profile topic of discussion, higher on the agenda than ever for many CFOs/FDs, particularly in areas such as new penalty regimes (including possible corporate criminal offences), tax digitalisation & Brexit. The tax environment continues to move at pace and tax professionals must keep up with the changes. As organisations face these new challenges the demand for skilled tax people will continue to rise and new career opportunities will present themselves too.