RecruitmentLast updated: 16 March 2023

Nottingham and Manchester worst-hit by accounting talent shortage, data shows

Alex Troy1 March 2023

We've been doing some digging here at Bright to find out just how bad the talent shortage is in accounting. Take a look at the press release below to learn more.

For media and press enquiries, please reach out to Alex Troy by emailing [email protected]

Accountancy firms in Manchester and Nottingham are bearing the brunt of the talent crisis, the Financial Professionals Index (FPI) has revealed.

There are, on average, just two potential applicants for every accounting role in each of these cities – so firms that are based there have the smallest talent pool from which to recruit.

Compiled by accounting solutions provider Bright, the FPI is based on analysis of 20 cities in the UK and Ireland, comparing the number of online searches for accountancy-based jobs with the number of relevant roles advertised over a month.

According to the index, Manchester had the second highest number of accountancy vacancies in the UK and Ireland at 2,884, after London which saw 5,810 vacancies. While there were more than 57,200 searches for opportunities in the capital per month, comparably 5,840 people wanted to find equivalent roles in Manchester.

Just over 1,400 accountancy roles were advertised in Nottingham – the sixth highest in the list – yet the number of searches for the city was a relatively modest 3,227 per month.

Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton and Sheffield all ranked lowest after Manchester and Nottingham, with an average of three job hunters per role – less than half the national average of seven.

Cities like Carlisle (14 applicants), Norwich and Plymouth (13 applicants each), find themselves with more applicants per role. This is however, still low when compared with available positions and leaves hiring managers with only a small pool of candidates to hire from.

Kevin McCallum, CEO of Bright, said that the findings would come as little surprise to firms that have struggled to recruit top talent over the past 12 months;

“These figures provide a snapshot of a deepening crisis in the industry, where many firms are unable to reach their growth potential because they don’t have enough skilled staff.

“What’s surprising though, are the stark regional variations across the UK and Ireland. It’s also disappointing that the big university cities don’t seem to have a steady stream of graduates and professionals looking to work there.”

He explained that accountancy, like other professions, was derailed by Covid, with some firms still nervous about remote or hybrid working, while the turbulent jobs market has meant more professionals could be tempted by highly-paid jobs in other adjacent industries like financial services and insurance.

“Remote or hybrid working can help firms to widen their talent pool, yet some are still holding back - possibly because they don’t have the technology to support it,” he said.

Cloud-based accounting technology makes it easier for employers and employees to be flexible, so firms aren’t as vulnerable to fluctuations in the local jobs market.

“It can be difficult for smaller firms in particular to compete with the big players both within and outside their sector when it comes to pay. That’s why it’s crucial for these accounting organisations to put their people first, through technology, policies and benefits like hybrid working. As well as appealing to existing employees, today’s next generation of accountants see these as being crucial to their career development and job satisfaction.”

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