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Trending in Finance and Administrative: A Glimpse into the New York Job Market

We sat down with Brian Porrell of WinterWyman’s Finance, Human Resources and Administrative division (now Planet Professional), to get a feel for the talent pool and what’s trending in the Finance and Administrative hiring market in New York. Brian shares his observations, experiences and recommendations, and what he’s anticipating in the coming months.

What is the overall health of the accounting space in New York?

Overall, the market is as healthy as we’ve ever seen. For the past ten years, we’ve seen growth and hiring numbers with demand at an all-time high. We’ve also seen consistent market growth and record low unemployment numbers which have led to a clear candidate deficiency. The talent pool is as shallow as we’ve ever seen, and more companies are trying to hire from that shallow pool. When you combine those two market realities, it explains why hiring top talent is extremely difficult. Most college graduates are happily employed, well compensated and aren’t actively looking for new roles.

Do you have specific observations about the temporary labor pool?

When you talk about temporary specific, this reality becomes more important to understand. For these roles, hiring managers are essentially engaging the unemployed candidate pool because professionals are not leaving permanent positions for temporary assignments. If you are hiring for a temp or temp-to-perm role, you are looking for talent in the smallest candidate pool the market has ever seen.

What can hiring managers do to improve their odds of hiring the best talent?

Employers need to make their open positions highly attractive for job seekers. Whether that’s flexible hours, remote work, increased compensation, bonus potential, creative benefits, enhanced vacation time or other perks, thinking about how to get your candidate of choice to say “yes” depends a lot on what you can do for them.

Clients who are winning the best talent – what are they doing right?

Employers who understand the speed of the candidate market are more likely to get their candidates of choice. It’s crucial to get candidates engaged efficiently through the interview process and offer stage. I never mean to rush my client’s hiring process, but because candidates have so many opportunities, a long process may be the reason a hiring manager loses a top pick. Instead of meeting five people over the course of four days, think about consolidating that process – having fewer interviews, doing them online or having more than one person interview at a time.

What skills and backgrounds are in the highest demand.

The demand remains high for a variety of accounting roles across the board. Naturally, during tax season, tax people are in high demand. Toward the end of the year, AP becomes very desirable in the retail space. Good core skills are always attractive, and candidates with advanced degrees, such as an MBA or CPA, are always in high demand. In general, the accounting market covets candidates with a blend of private and public accounting.

What are the trends with temp and temp-to-perm talent in your industry?

Filling temp-to-perm roles have become more challenging. Employers like the idea of hiring a high caliber temp person, because their intention is to try them out first, and then have them turn into a full-time employee. With this goal in mind, they will look for permanent caliber profiles, but this current job market is not conducive to a recruiting strategy like this. The best candidates are typically employed and won’t leave a full-time job for a temp role.

How can hiring managers successfully hire for temp-to-perm roles?

Savvy hiring managers who are willing to consider outside-the-box profiles or candidates who are unemployed for unique circumstances, can pick up highly talented individuals. The best value I can bring to clients is to help them understand what types of unique profiles to interview. Our depth of knowledge in the local market and our increasing experience filing positions in a candidate driven market gives us a valuable point of view.

How is social media affecting recruiting in your industry?

It’s always important to use social media to sell your company and increase brand awareness. Because candidates have so many opportunities, the online story about your company will help sell the job. A positive reputation on sites like Glassdoor, and cultural posts that give job seekers a look into life at your company, help drive people toward your organization.

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