Practice Snapshots — Technology : Finance & Accounting : Project Services, Change & Transformation

Ampersand Insights

by Tom Derbyshire

The Technology space has seen a continued demand for all skill sets across various disciplines. Business Intelligence has and continues to be one of the most sought after areas. The ‘big data’ from the business intelligence is seen as the way in which markets can react and tailor their products to the requirements of their customers or captive customers. As a result of this there has been an increase in candidates with analytics experience to decipher and make the data easily to understand across the wider business.

The buzz word however in the Technology practice is Cyber Security. Cyber Security is one of the most demanded skill sets we are seeing at the moment. Due a number of high profile data breaches and security lapses with big companies recently in the global media, the need for Cyber Security is more so than ever to protect not only their customer’s information, intellectual property but more so to protect their brand. As the market is already extremely tight for these skill sets we can see this continue into 2016.


Accounting and Finance
by Anita & Sarah Connigan

The CSO (Central Statistics Office) shows unemployment down to 8.9%. More importantly for the overall economy employment is up 2.9% (to 1.983 million).  GDP 2015 predictions were for 4% growth, but we will beat that!  2016 and 2017 will see growth continue at similar levels. Candidates with strong experience in commercial analysis, forecasting and financial modelling are in great demand, particularly if they have a proven track record of influencing change.  Increased demand for middle market Accounting & Finance professionals with 3 years post qualified experience.  Food, Energy and ICT sectors continue to see sustained growth creating a greater demand for Financial, Business and Commercial Analysts. Looking at the trends of assignments, across industry circa 49% has been down to replacement roles with 51% down to newly created roles with 53% versus 47% respectively across financial services sectors.

Organisations that understand the importance of a strong Employer Value Proposition (EVP) are attracting candidates ahead of their competitors.  Salary packages and also non-monetary benefits have become particularly important for candidates at finalist level, this is reflected with companies now investing in the overall satisfaction of finalist level employees in order to retain them in their businesses.  Companies looking to attract part-qualified candidates are now providing 2 days study leave per exam. The best candidates are tending to migrate towards companies who are most likely to support them at this crucial and challenging time of their careers.  We are seeing an increased tendency for companies to incentivise employees on completion of their final exams. At the senior level, we are seeing an increase in benefits packages and it is again quite normal for senior level applicants to receive a bonus, full health insurance for themselves and increasingly for their families, 22-25 days annual leave, death in service and car allowance.  The key focus at this level is to attract and retain talent through valuing investment in the employee outside of their salaries.  Bonuses are back with a bang and companies are attracting candidates with like for like salaries and cementing their interest with promise of career growth and strong bonus packages, the average bonus is 15-20% with the criteria based on split of personal and company performance.  It is a minimum expectation in the market that candidates will be receiving 70-80% of their bonuses.

2015 has been a turning point for Ireland and has brought a lot of optimism back into the Irish job market. Dublin was the focal point of Ireland’s growth before the Global Financial Crisis in ‘07 but has now changed course somewhat and is spearheading the Country’s recovery. There is noticeable vibrancy across all sectors; Finance & Accounting in particular has enjoyed 20% growth since year end 2014. According to the 2015 Finance Dublin Survey of Ireland’s Top 20 Accountancy Firms, the continued recovery of accountancy fee income is steadily on the rise which further reinforces the positivity shown daily in the newspapers and economic reports. The American Chamber just this week forecasted close to 5,000 finance positions being created in the next few years from US multi-nationals now headquartered in Ireland. These and other Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies that continue to enter the Irish job market looking for top talent and competitive tax incentives will create endless opportunities for accounting professionals and the ‘new-age’ commercially focused and dynamic Accountant who can provide speculative analysis rather than retrospective reporting will be the key hires for these companies in growth mode.

Another key indicator that employment growth is set to continue in the Banking and Finance sectors is that employers are only recently gaining approval to increase their permanent headcount. This was an all too familiar roadblock during the recession and continued for the last seven years. It was a constant battle which resulted in hiring a lot of contractors; not getting the right talent in roles; no job security and sadly a mass emigration of talented finance professionals to foreign shores. Now that the market conditions are more favourable, the challenge in 2016 will be sourcing and retaining strong talent. It is absolutely a candidate driven market and counter offers are extremely prevalent. Ampersand Dublin is in a very unique position enjoying a global network of exceptional candidates with offices in Melbourne; Sydney and Singapore. We are excited to extend this reach to our Irish clients and look forward to bringing back local talent – from those same foreign shores – to what we can confidently say is now a robust economic market.

Let’s talk stats!


Project Services, Change & Transformation
by Susie Farrell & Tracey Petrie

In the project services and change management practice, we have seen a more reflective market where clients seem to be “getting their houses in order” in terms of structure and governance.  Where some firms were implementing a Centre of Excellence for change, others were introducing Enterprise Portfolio Change Practices to work across an entire organisation creating better operating rhythms, more cost efficiency and better delivery with IP retained within the organisation. Based on client demand and pipeline forecasting, there is an expected spike in demand on the horizon for 2016 which means greater buoyancy with job opportunities across permanent, contract and fixed term.

On a global scale, there is a big organisational learning curve on true transformation projects and boards know they are not the type of projects they can afford to practice when they’ve only got once chance to get it right. Not surprisingly this has brought about demand in a wide range of project consulting services with certain skills and expertise. There’s an increased opportunity for experienced advisers with performance, process and enabling technology skills – this is what we expect to see (and need) in 2016!


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