2021 Tax Salary Guide
Our 2021 Tax Salary Guide provides an overview of recruitment and remuneration for tax professionals across the UK, Asia and the US.
This year, we have gone one step further and partnered with The Pay Index resulting in the creation of one of the most in-depth salary guides on the market. This includes reports on gender pay gaps, diversity, the impact of COVID and more.
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In the wake of what has been a year like no other, we are now seeing the signs of markets around the world emerging from the pandemic, or at least becoming more accustomed to this new business environment. Whilst this “new-norm” will challenge our personal and professional lives forever and in turn, how businesses respond, we are all experiencing a return to what was the levels of activity seen in the tax market back in 2019.
What has changed?
Well, everything really; In line with global trends, the tax market saw a severe tightening in demand for tax talent at the end of Q1 2020. Professional services hiring essentially stopped in early Q2. Tax hires that did take place were into industry roles where either process had started pre-March, or they were into sectors largely resilient to the surrounding crisis. As we moved through the year closer to Q4 where countries around the world still experienced some form of lockdown restrictions, signs were there that the market was starting to move as businesses quickly adapted to remote working.
Coupled with the different government support packages, businesses were able to pivot and trade their way through the crisis. Mid-market professional services firms and sectors such as technology and pharmaceuticals were leading the way in showing an appetite to hire.
Move in the market
Since then, we have seen a material move in demand for talent in tax. Although it was anticipated that we would see a “K” shaped recovery, with some industries faring significantly better than others, we are now seeing demand across all sectors. Many businesses are adapting to post pandemic opportunities by reshaping their tax strategies and resourcing needs at a time when new entrants are building tax teams from scratch and/or being further built out.
Concurrently, the accounting and legal firms are capitalising on this uptick in activity by investing in headcount growth to enhance and diversify their capabilities across all service lines. The tax agenda moving again at pace, coupled with pent-up demand from suppressed hiring through the initial stages of the pandemic in H1 2020, has contributed to an extremely active tax recruitment market so far in 2021.
It is likely these market conditions will be sustained throughout 2021 and into 2022. Fuelled by the return of the changing environment that was in full motion pre-pandemic, has only been added to by businesses adapting their operating models and strategic business plans to re-raise the question of what fit for the new future now means. Coupled with this the political flux and anticipated changes to the treatment of tax by country only adds to this spotlight as inevitably businesses around the world react to defend, divest, do deals and deliver.
Interestingly, as markets adapted, we did not see that notable a shift in compensation levels pre and post-pandemic. Candidates’ expectations and client’s budgets have been consistent and neither party has looked to price “risk” into moving roles or hiring up to this point.
As we entered 2021 with a degree of optimism, it is evident that nothing will be quite the same again as businesses look to blend the old ways with the new ways of working. This “best of both worlds” approach is expected to give their people the ability to still work remotely to some degree whilst also inviting them back into the office to team effectively and amplify the culture.
How businesses handle this will be a very important factor towards being seen as an employer of choice in retaining and attracting talent for the future.