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‘Seller’s jobs market’ forces up London accountant salaries

In 2019, accountants working in London should expect their salaries to be, on average, 29% higher than the rest of the country, argues Robert Half’s Chris Lawton.

Chris Lawton

January 2019

With the fourth industrial revolution on the horizon, the London talent market is set to evolve as new skills are needed to help businesses adapt to digitalisation, AI and automation. Combined with other macroeconomic factors like Brexit, 2019 is set to be a ‘seller’s market’, as companies compete to attract, secure and retain the right talent.

CFOs have predicted that team dynamics will need to change, shifting more towards a collaborative and communicative approach, and in demand skills will trend towards adaptability and data analysis.

In London, almost 900,000 SMEs, the equivalent to more than four out of five (83%) small and medium-sized businesses, are struggling to hire candidates with the necessary skills. As a result, businesses in the capital are being forced to offer salary packages higher than originally expected to recruit the right talent, especially in the accounting sector.

Almost half (48%) of companies in London say increased remuneration levels have been necessary in the last three years to secure the best quality candidates. By contrast, this figure is 40% for all UK companies. Six in 10 also say they are paying more than they initially planned to secure their favoured candidate, as the fast-paced market drives increasingly competitive salary negotiation.

In 2019, accounting professionals working in London should expect their salaries to be, on average, 29% higher than the rest of the country. The majority of CFOs believe that salaries will increase by 2% for permanent staff in the New Year. Over one in 10 (11%) hoped to offer a rise to 20% of their accounting and finance team.

Looking across the accounting sector, a finance director in the first quartile salary band could expect to earn an average of £80,000 nationally, rising to £103,500 in London. A tax accountant based in London in the first salary quartile could expect to earn nearly £52,000, more than £10,000 than the national average of £40,000.

Overall, London accountants, and their salaries, look set to benefit from the intensifying war for talent leading into 2019.

Chris Lawton is Director at Robert Half UK

In demand accounting and finance roles in London

 Job Role  25th 50th  75th  95th 
 Financial Controller  77,632  84,101  97,040  129,387
 Company Accountant  41,404  54,342  67,281  75,044
 Qualified Management/Financial Accountant  51,755 58,224  71,163  97,040
 Financial Analyst  51,755  58,224  71,163  97,040
 Financial Business Partner  58,224  71,163  84,101  103,509
 Risk/Compliance Manager  54,342  62,106  84,101  93,158
 Treasury Accountant/Analyst  51,755  58,224  71,163  97,040
 Tax Manager  84,101  97,040  109,979  142,325
 Part-Qualified Management/Financial Accountant   32,347  38,816  45,285  51,755
 Ledger Supervisor  25,877  32,347  36,875  45,285

Source: Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide

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