Recruitment market update – key skills in demand

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Despite the challenging market, plenty of opportunities exist for commercially focused CIMA members

Globally, the faster growing markets in the Far East have experienced a slight downturn, meaning that trade volumes and global activity have dropped.

This is particularly evident across financial services and has translated into an overall decrease in the number of new roles becoming available.

While companies remain cautious and are focused on delivering short-term results and minimising costs, there has however been a significant upturn in activity within SMEs (small-medium enterprises) – while larger companies are keen not to miss out on key talent as hiring budgets are relaxed.

Therefore, despite a challenging market, there are still some great opportunities available for commercially focused CIMA candidates.

Candidates with commercial management accounts experience are most sought after, as there is much greater demand for quality financial information to support decision making.

Although controlling costs remains high on the list of priorities, we are also seeing demand for individuals who are capable of taking a more commercial approach to protecting margins by accurately evaluating and reporting return on investment.

In 2009, companies reduced intakes for their CIMA training programmes, which means that there are now fewer experienced candidates available for each role.

Although there are fewer jobs overall, there are even fewer quality candidates. So a top quality, newly qualified CIMA member should still feel confident.

Overall the market is busiest from finalist level to two or three years’ post-qualified experience. The best advice for candidates seeking new roles is therefore to research prospective employers carefully.

CVs should focus on achievements and contributions to the wider business, beyond straightforward accounting, while showing that the candidate understands the commercial context within which they work.

The most sought-after candidates are those who can clearly demonstrate a track record of tangible achievements where they have made a difference to the business – not just tweaked reporting schedules.

Strong inter-personal skills, such as communications skills and the ability to influence at a senior level, are also important.

Without doubt it becomes very clear during an interview which candidates are actively approached by their non-finance colleagues for support.

Becoming the “go to” person for advice or support really proves a candidate’s value and gives finance professionals the best opportunity to develop rapidly and show off all their competencies.






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