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Demand for newly-qualified accountants highest for five years


The last few years have undoubtedly been rough ones for Ireland. The bursting of the housing bubble in 2007 saw the country plunged into a much deeper recession than many of its its European neighbours and - like many of the countries on the so-called periphery like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal - the depth of the crash led to concerns that the whole eurozone might collapse.

However, despite needing a bailout, the country has been bouncing back in a way that would have seemed improbable in the dark days of just a few years ago. While the likes of Greece are still in the mire and other eurozone nations have stumbled along, Ireland's economic growth is increasingly impressive. 

The latest official data has shown Ireland's economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2014 and was 7.7 per cent larger than in the same period a year before. The government had already uprated the forecast for economic growth in 2014 from 2.1 per cent to three per cent, but this has now been hiked to 4.5 per cent, along with a promise of no new austerity measures.

As a result, the jobs market is getting better, with August's unemployment rate down to 11.2 per cent, compared with 11.3 per cent in July and 12.7 per cent in August 2013.

It may come as no surprise, therefore, to see demand for staff on the up - and this appears to be particularly true of accountants, where the number of openings for newly-qualified practitioners has soared to levels not seen since 2009.

This trend for taking on those who have become PQE qualified in the past three years has been seen particularly strongly in Dublin and Cork, where such firms are principally based. 

That observation has certainly tied in with the other emergent evidence of strong economic growth and while all that is great news for the accountants seeking jobs, companies may need to move fast, compete well and offer good packages to secure the best talent, while also making the most of recruitment industry expertise.

Indeed, a shortage of skilled accountants is a real issue, because the Big Four firms reduced their intakes in their 2009 and 2010 graduate accountancy training programmes. What this has led to is a situation over the last three months in which two out of three accountants have received counter offers. Acquiring and keeping talent is something firms without a smart approach may struggle to do.

Dan McKeown, Marks Sattin manager for Ireland, said: "Considering these recently-qualified accountants will continue to be in shorter supply for the next 12 months, and demand looks set to continue to rise, Marks Sattin Ireland recommends that businesses plan for their requirements in advance.

"A two-to-three month lead time where possible is recommended and along with your recruitment partner, make sure you are covering all recruitment platforms and are selling the business, role, remuneration package and future progression opportunities in detail." 


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