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Commerce & Industry accountant hiring at record levels in UK with jobs in technology and telecoms firms driving surge — new report

Tuesday 10 May 2022

  • Hiring levels for C&I accountants in Q1 2022 up 40% year-on-year
  • Number of new jobs in January 2022 hit all-time monthly high
  • Tech & telecoms with surge in hiring, specialist fields most sought-after function
  • London increases share of total jobs, Reading & Birmingham in fastest growth
  • Amazon, Marks & Spencer and BT with most new vacancies in 2022

Recruitment for accountants across commerce and industry (C&I) in England and Wales have continued growing after a record 2021, with technology and telecoms firms overtaking the retailers as the busiest hirers, new research reveals.

A report by global recruiters Morgan McKinley and data analysts Vacancysoft reveals that hiring levels for C&I accountants in 2021 finished with growth of 68% year-on-year, and an uplift of 22% in relation to pre-pandemic levels.

New vacancies continued their momentum into 2022, reaching an all-time high in January of 1,270 professional vacancies — up 73% compared to the same month a year earlier and 31% higher than pre-pandemic levels. At the close of the first quarter, vacancies are at their highest quarterly level and 40% up on Q1 2021.

Darren Burns, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley commented:

“The commerce industry remains in high demand for attracting talent with candidates having multiple offers across a wide span of industries. This makes it increasingly challenging for companies to secure the candidate they are offered. Candidates are looking for finance leaders who have created accounting departments to be more strategic and innovative and drawn to companies where finance teams are not just spending their time on manual, tedious processes, particularly since there are now many platforms that eliminate the need to perform routine, monthly tasks. There’s been a real shift in working habits, technology adoption and employee expectations and it has to be a priority for CFOs to work hard to engage their workforce.”

Technology & telecoms with surge in hiring, specialist fields most sought-after function

Technology and telecoms firms published the most accounting vacancies, the combined 4,000 new jobs in 2021 representing a rise of 102% year-on-year, enabling them to leapfrog the retail / consumer goods and services sector, 2019 and 2020’s leader.

Across the different specialisations most in demand shows that management accountants are the most sought after, with jobs up 63% year-on-year. Demand for accounting experts in specialist fields grew the fastest, surging by 147% year-on-year followed by hiring for treasury accountants (102% year-on-year).

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London increases share of total jobs, Reading & Birmingham in fastest growth

Hiring for C&I accountants in London grew faster over the last three years compared to the rest of the country. In 2019 and 2020, the capital’s share of total hiring stood at 38%, rising to 41% in 2021 as recruitment increased 90% year-on-year.

In early 2022, new vacancies in Reading and Birmingham are fastest out of the traps, at 38% and 39% of their previous year’s totals by the end of the first quarter. In contrast, recruitment for C&I accountants in Nottingham (15% of 2021’s total) is the slowest to grow so far.

Amazon, Marks & Spencer and BT with most new vacancies in 2022

Out of the top C&I firms looking for accountants, Amazon has been the busiest recruiter and also leads for the number of published accountant vacancies in 2022. Last year, the firm published over 200 new jobs, a rise of 41% year-on-year.

Top 10 Companies – C&I – Accountant Vacancies only

Company 2019 2020 2021 2022 (Q1)
Amazon 99 145 205 88
Marks & Spencer 54 39 96 44
BT 308 60 146 44
Jack Morton 10 35
J Sainsbury 33 105 157 34
Informa 45 15 71 33
FIS 14   77 32
DHL 95 40 88 32
Whitbread 33 17 66 30
Group M 22 23 49 29


Marks and Spencer is second so far in 2022, following a year when recruitment rose by 146% year-on-year. BT Group, currently in third, experienced a 142% year-on-year rise in vacancies in 2021.

Darren continued: “It’s never been more important to offer support and career progression. Within the commerce landscape, 15% of the finance population have moved within the last 12 months with candidates seeking a change within 2.5 years. It’s never been so important to invest in people and technology to keep the job interesting as there are plenty of other options available. Attrition is as high as 31% in some larger organisations as employees focus more on their job satisfaction and not just pay. Candidates are taking advantage of the rapidly loosening UK labour market, and this will continue well into 2022.”

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