What Can Newly Qualified Finance Professionals in Northern Ireland Expect This Year?

What Can Newly Qualified Finance Professionals in Northern Ireland Expect This Year?

20 January 2022 by Justin Rush

2021 was a real upset, no-one at the start of the year was expecting what we saw develop.  It was a year that saw an unprecedented demand for finance talent across Northern Ireland. We already had a candidate-driven market, by the end of 21, it was like nothing we have never seen before!

Along the way, we saw a return of sign-on bonuses, record salary jumps, re-negotiations and counteroffers.  If you did not move in 2021 you may think, “Did I miss out on the chance for a lucrative or rewarding move? The answer… NO. The candidate market is now raving at an all-time high, and 2022 will show even more demand for Newly Qualified talent in Northern Ireland.

Even with economic growth revised downward and now forecasted for 4% in N.I. this year, we are still going to see a huge level of demand.  Businesses are in growth mode and investment is high on the agenda.  Qualified Accountants are going to be needed across all areas of the marketplace:

  • Commerce & Industry – From SME’s to large Shared Service Centres (SSC) reporting, management and oversight driven positions
  • Professional practice – traditional audit and advisory roles plus numerous specialisms from Big 4 to Independent local firms.
  • Public Sector & Not-for-Profit – Qualified staff are needed in central and local government for budget management and funding, both permanent and contract positions.
  • Financial Services & Funds – A high growth area due to new Foreign Direct Investment with new Client Accounting and Fund Management positions.

Global, national, and local companies are all continuing to realise the strength of talent here in N.I. and are investing heavily in their finance functions to capitalise on this. I have spoken with numerous clients who plan on adding significant numbers of newly qualified professionals to their finance teams to help accommodate for this growth. Hence, now is an extremely exciting time for being a newly qualified candidate. You are in the driver seat.

What Does This Growth and Investment Mean for You?

Salaries will continue to rise: Because of the demand for a limited amount of newly qualified professionals, numeration will be at an all time high from companies who are trying to attract the people they need.

Benefits packages are now more negotiable than ever: Benefits are something that many people underestimate the value of, yet they can hold extremely good perks that should be investigated more. Companies now understand that they can no longer rely on having a higher salary. Candidates are requiring better all-around packages in order to move. Things you should consider should include pension contribution, medical cover, annual leave, bonus schemes, and much more 

Retention will be strong focus for employers: Business Leaders are well aware of the shortage of newly qualified candidates and will do all they can to keep their prized staff. Thus, counteroffers will remain prevalent in 2022 as companies battle for the services of newly qualified talent.

Flexibility will be high: As we look ahead, working in an office full time could be considered as though it came from the Stone Age. Employers are now extremely open to hybrid and remote working models, giving candidates more option and comfort in where they work from. In addition, companies are now becoming accommodating in providing at home equipment such as monitors, chairs, and desks to allow for increased comfort and productivity when working from home.

How Abacus Can Help?

We work with clients across multiple sectors including SSC’s, industry, practice, SME’s, not for profit, and public sector. Therefore, we have a multitude of contacts and networks that we can utilise to help you find a role that is exciting, engaging, and fulfilling towards your personal interests and circumstances.

In addition, we offer salary and CV advice, interview preparation, market insight, and much more. So please feel free to give myself or any other member of the accountancy team at Abacus a call and we can help prepare you for getting the best role and package out there for you.

Marc Norton [email protected]

Marc is a specialist recruiter at Abacus Careers who focuses on placing recently qualified accountants to a range of locally based organisations. Marc holds a Masters in Communication Studies and is currently studying for further qualifications via the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.


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