Looking for a new role in challenging times
Rutherford Cross discusses how to search for a new job in a new world.
Looking for a new job can be a daunting prospect at the best of times. Add in a global pandemic, geopolitical uncertainty and the UK’s impending exit from the EU and you could be forgiven for putting it off for another, more settled time.
However, while we at Rutherford Cross initially saw some downturn in the jobs market at the beginning of lockdown, it has bounced back significantly, with employers still looking to recruit the best finance professionals. Of course, we are still in a period of uncertainty and will potentially be moving in and out of lockdown for some time. Be prepared for a very competitive market.
With these unprecedented changes, not least to our working patterns, how should you go about looking for a new job? This year has demonstrated the fragility of some sectors and strength of others. You may not have a crystal ball, but areas such as renewables, pharmaceuticals, FMCG and tech look set to grow and should offer good prospects over the next few years.
Those who can blend technology and accountancy with strategy, decision making and seeking out future business will be in demand
The skillset of the future will also look very different to that of today. Think automation, analytics and transformation. For finance functions to be successful they will need to be strategic, agile and able to adapt to change. Once you have assessed the direction you hope to move in, these tips should help you secure your next role.
1. Assess your skillset
As mentioned, the traditional role of the accountant is changing. With transaction processes being increasingly automated, some of the more routine finance tasks are being left redundant. Those who can blend technology and accountancy with strategy, decision making and seeking out future business will be in demand. Companies will be looking for true business partners who can make sense of analytics or data and work with senior stakeholders across the whole organisation. The focus will be on strategic thinking, problem solving and strong communication skills. In the short term, the impending Brexit deadline means we may also see an increase in demand for tax and restructuring professionals.
2. Build a virtual network and personal brand
The traditional ways of networking have changed with the lockdown. Travel restrictions and the ban on mass gatherings have meant live events being put on hold. Many such events are now taking place virtually, so you can still sign up to attend online seminars and roundtables. They often have an element of learning and development as well as providing an excellent platform to engage with new contacts through thought-provoking discussion. LinkedIn also offers countless online forums dedicated to finance professionals.
3. Partner with a recruitment specialist
Consider building a trusted relationship with a selected specialist finance recruiter. At a minimum, they should provide a good sounding board on live market trends and career options – many of which you may not have considered before. They also have the added benefit of speaking to potential employers on a daily basis, so they are in touch with what hirers are looking for in their next employee.
Of course, the traditional routes to securing your next position – such as seeking a mentor, defining your long-term aspirations and being open to different opportunities – are still to be encouraged. But the most important step is to proactively upskill. With greater competition for jobs across all sectors and levels, which is only likely to increase over the next two to five years, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. Think about the future and how to position yourself for the finance function of tomorrow. It may take a little time and forward planning, but it will certainly get you noticed. These are the key things to ask yourself when searching for your next move: what are the skills, behaviours and competencies needed for the future of finance? What is the future role of the accountant? In the meantime, continue to network – even if it all just virtual for the moment.
To discuss your career aspirations, please contact Harry Young at Rutherford Cross: email@example.com
Planning for job change will help you build the agility and resiliency you need to adapt to forces that will impact your work life in the future. View these other useful guides from ICAS to help you in your journey:
Times of Transition Guide
Building an Online Network Guide
These help sheets are designed to assist members with an important issue of general application and is not intended to be a definitive statement covering all aspects of this area. No responsibility for any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any material in these help sheets can be accepted by ICAS.