Back to Blogs


  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago

To mark National Payroll Week, we asked our Commercial Director Andrew Walker, who has more than 20 year’s recruitment experience and focuses on the placement of transactional finance and payroll specialists in South Yorkshire for insight into the current market.

How is the current marketplace and what are your expectations for how the next 6-12 months will look?

Payroll has been particularly in demand over the last 12-24 months and the employment market is still extremely buoyant, with demand outweighing supply.

The next 6-12 months may depend upon any changes in the economy; as it stands there is no sign of the employment market slowing down, however that may change if we enter a recession and belts tighten.

What are the main recruitment challenges being faced?

There’s high demand from employers for quality, experienced specialists however a short supply of suitable candidates, compounded by a historical lack of investment in training new payroll staff means that the balance is unlikely to be restored in the short to medium term.

What should employers be doing to overcome these challenges?

Employers need to be looking at one of two approaches. Firstly, raising salaries both in terms of retaining their own talent and also to attract the limited number of candidates looking for a new role. Payroll salaries have risen considerably in the last 24 months and, whilst demand outweighs supply, will continue to rise. Effectively, companies will find that they are paying a premium to secure the personnel they need and be the employer of choice.

Secondly, there needs to be a return to recruiting and investing “rookies” in order to grow their own talent through training and development. Many clients are recruiting graduates, AAT studiers, or administrators and training them in payroll and providing support for relevant qualifications such as the CIPP (Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals).

What should candidates be doing to take advantage of this opportunity?

Experienced payroll specialists with the right skills will find that there’s a wealth of opportunities currently available to them. Those in the early stages of their finance career should give serious consideration to payroll as it offers an opportunity to use numerical and IT skills in a people-orientated role.

Payroll can often be an area of Accounting and Finance that is overlooked, despite it offering just as many opportunities for post graduate qualification, for promotion and for high earning potential as other areas. It offers a viable route for longer term development with the provision of full training and further funded qualifications potentially available.

What should candidates be looking for when considering a new role opportunity?

Consider your fit with the company culture. Yes there are currently genuine opportunities to improve your salary at the moment, but any move should be because it will be the ‘right’ place for you to work and offer you the progression that you are looking for… Don’t just follow the money.

How can employers put themselves in the best possible position to secure the top talent?

Sell yourself as an organisation and what you can offer somebody with ambition seeking strong career development opportunities. Be prepared to move (very) quickly and be decisive; candidates have so many choices and so many options on the table, that a poor process or a slow process means most of the time you will miss out.

Additionally, be open minded to recruiting inexperienced candidates and invest in training and qualifications. The fight for talent is intense for experienced candidates, with prices rising quickly. Investing in new entrants to the market can be a rewarding and cost-effective alternative.

Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of temporary, interim and permanent transactional finance professionals across the full spectrum of roles including accounts payable, credit control, payroll and purchase ledgers.  With offices in Leeds and Sheffield our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond. CONTACT US today to find out more.