Real estate and construction market on the up

Matthew Wilcox our consultant managing the role

The overall economic upturn has been in evidence in the British real estate and construction market, which is enjoying a major surge - the recent quarterly report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed the fastest growth in workloads since its records began in 1994.

Good news for building companies and contractors, then, but the development has also been noted with interest among accountancy firms, who could be set to increase their property teams as a response.

Other figures from the RICS report underlined the positive mood enveloping the market, with much of this emanating from the private and commercial sector.

Pleasingly, the recovery looks set to be broad-based rather than simply focused on the south-east and London, which comes as unusual and uplifting news compared to the usual complexion of RICS' survey.

Although there is still a major imbalance between the capital and the rest of the country, any steps towards bridging this gap need to be seen as a shot in the arm for the industry.

Employment is also improving. Some 62,000 new hires are anticipated for the coming year, representing three per cent growth on a year-on-year basis.

For financial services professionals with expertise in the property sector or an interest in moving into it, these developments should signal a new degree of liquidity in the job market.

Ewa Grace, Marks Sattin senior manager for tax and professionals services, said she had observed investment in this area from accountancy firms.

"This is a key area that will continue to grow and therefore we are advising our clients to recruit now before they are over-shadowed by their competitors," she added.

Spend is likely to be targeted on the audit and tax teams to ensure they are prepared for an upturn in business contingent on the ongoing improvement being seen within commercial and private property.

"Clients need to be open-minded and be willing to take on candidates without experience in this sector. They can, however, demand high quality CV’s from accountants with first-time passes, strong academic backgrounds and top-tier experience," Ms Grace declared.

But what can property-focused accountancy teams offer candidates looking for a new role?

According to the Marks Sattin manager, progression, advisory-based work and a varied selection of tasks are some of the benefits of working in the property sector. Especially if the levels of funding among clients continue to expand over the coming years in line with recent economic predictions, there could be impressive chances for promotion and gaining experience for the right people.

The nature of the market means that accountants will not need to concentrate solely on one area - private equity, student accommodation, solar, wind farm and property clients are all available, although which ones are focused on may depend on the nature of the firm and their contacts.

"We are seeing growth in the big four and the mid-tiers so it is important that clients really sell their roles, and most importantly move quickly, as it is very much a candidate-driven market at the moment," concluded Ms Grace.

11/04/16
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