Behind the numbers of our UK senior finance market report 2023-2024

Author Michael Johnson
October 3, 2023

Our senior finance market report and salary guide 2023-2024 was released earlier this year, and has been well received by the CFO community. Whilst it addressed the big question of pay, lots of our recipients asked about the broader trends that were happening within the senior finance talent landscape. As a result we reached out further to our network through a series of LinkedIn polls and in-house surveys asking about wider benefits packages, hybrid working arrangements, and the likelihood of further movement in the employment markets over the next 12 months. And we are now pleased to be able to share further in-depth data.

Wider benefits packages

It is clear from reviewing the salary survey that pay increased materially 2022-2023. From 10% increases in pay across the Big 4 tax functions, to significant volumes of CFO moves, the supply of candidates could not meet demand. Salaries inevitably increased, but so too did the number of candidates receiving bonuses, as well as the amounts that they received:

Pension contributions also seem to have crept up, with the highest proportion of candidates receiving 7-10% as a pension contribution:

We therefore asked candidates what benefits were most important to them, getting a sense as to the differentiators that can be used to secure the perfect employee:

It is interesting to note that the Big 4 have worked extremely hard to make their wider benefits package more attractive, as well as increasing the base pay on offer. Banks are doing the same, no longer able to rely on better basic salaries than their counterparts in certain non-FS sectors (technology and real estate in particular). Candidates are, without question, taking wider packages and benefits into consideration, and offers are being rejected on the basis of pensions, bonus, hybrid working and healthcare.

Hybrid Working

It is clear that the ability to work remotely is still enormously valued by employees, but that is increasingly at odds with employers who are driving a return to the office to ensure effective collaboration during a period of economic uncertainty. Goldman Sachs have recently announced a return to a five day working week, and whilst this is at odds with the broader market, there have been a multitude of organisations who have moved from two to three days, or three to four days. Employers do need to tread carefully though; being too draconian dramatically restricts access to top talent.

The future

Whilst we are not anticipating that our report for 2024 will outline salary increases at the same volume as this year’s edition, the cost of living crisis means that the candidate population remains very open to opportunities. Only 29% of respondents said that they would not consider a move in the next 12 months.

Businesses that find themselves out of kilter with the market on base pay remain particularly vulnerable, but those with draconian hybrid working policies and poor wider benefits package are also highly exposed. The war for talent may be cooling, but there is no room for complacency. Equally, those businesses who invest with a well-considered employee strategy could position themselves perfectly for the inevitable rebound.

For more information about the senior finance market or to discuss all our findings in more detail please contact a member of our team.

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