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The Talent Shortage in Finance & Accounting

  • July 24, 2023
  • |
  • 8 min read
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Accounting & Finance Managers know it all too well — the ongoing shortage of skilled talent continues to create challenges to getting work done right and on time.

What’s behind the shortage?

Certainly, part of the shortage is a shared challenge across almost all sectors and skillsets – we hear every day about the challenges organizations are facing in finding rightly skilled talent.  What makes finance & accounting roles unique?  As more and more organizations develop increasingly sophisticated approaches to data and analysis (and the amount of data to be analyzed increases), there is pressure to be more predictive. Financial analysts are ground zero for this pressure as organizations build small armies of talent to help them not only measure the now, but also predict the future. Accountants and analysts are also needed in greater numbers as the economy and digitization objectives drive business growth. These both contribute to the demand side of the equation – and that demand is across all sectors and all organization sizes. 

As digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and new banking policies and regulations scale up demand, skilled supply is lagging. There are a variety of reasons for this: more people going into retirement than joining the workforce, candidates lacking either the desired hard or soft skills, and some job seekers switching careers due to worries about AI “taking over.”  Enrollments in accounting and finance-related disciplines are falling and are not keeping pace with market demand – we do not have enough talent interested in pursuing these roles. A second key challenge in supply is the fast-moving changes in the discipline, with AI and specifically robotic process automation (RPA) displacing some of the entry-level jobs that traditionally lead to mid-level roles, outsourcing of certain roles, and offshoring. This has led to some uncertainty as individuals question whether this field is a solid bet – in other words, Finance & Accounting may have a bit of a ‘brand’ issue. 

The future for Finance & Accounting talent is bright for workers with the right skills.

To ensure they have the in-demand skills they need, many of today’s job seekers want upskilling opportunities. In one recent survey, over 80% of workers say that it’s important for a company to offer training programs to keep them upskilled for the future. 

Workers also want flexibility and better work/life balance and they may pass on employers who don’t offer what they want. This is one of the main takeaways from our What Workers Want report. This report also found that organizations offering flexibility define a higher percentage of their workforce as high-achieving. 

Michelle Search, National Practice Leader for Jefferson Wells (part of ManpowerGroup) spoke in a CFO article about flexible scheduling. “There is no one size fits all strategy for remote work policies,” she states. “CFOs may have to find new ways to evaluate team and employee effectiveness and engagement that consider employee styles in a remote environment. Given the high cost of turnover and the continual struggle to attract and retain talent, creating and maintaining a strong corporate culture that values workers’ preferred ways of working is critical.” 

We’ve covered what’s causing the talent shortage along with some ideas for putting a dent in it. But what happens when your talent shortage goes on too long? 

Talent shortages have repercussions

Long-term staff vacancies can have serious consequences: 

  • Increased expectations on remaining team members
  • Risk of compliance issues
  • Increased audit risk
  • Inability to close the books
  • Greater employee dissatisfaction and/or burnout
  • Potential for higher turnover

5 Ways that Manpower Finance Can Help 

Manpower Finance is a new specialty within Manpower. That means we’re expanding upon our already-extensive expertise in this field. We offer solutions tailor-made to suit your needs. 

1. We’re backed by over 70 years of experience.

We have been identifying and placing in-demand Finance and Accounting experts with our clients for decades. We attract talent through our vast network of talent across the U.S. and offer an employee referral program to our contingent workforce to award them for referring top talent that we place. 

2. We have dedicated search consultants.

Our dedicated search consultant team of financial industry experts leverages our robust networking platforms to identify passive candidates seeking career opportunities with our clients. We’re also skilled at aligning talent with your organization’s talent strategy and long-term goals. 

3. Expertise – at scale.

Whether you need 1-2 ace players on your team for a key project, or need to surge for a large project, Manpower Finance supports you with a dedicated team of specialized recruiters. Our recruiters are skilled and experienced with both contingent and direct-hire options, putting together hourly rates and contracts for contingent talent or attractive competitive overall compensation packages for direct hire. Offering options is a good way to attract both types of candidates: those that value flexibility enjoy an opportunity to be redeployed at multiple clients on our contingent-based workforce; those who are looking for the next step in their career journey will be more interested in direct hire placement. 

4. Upskilling opportunities.

Our contingent workforce has access to our MyPath program, which provides them opportunities for continuous learning and upskillingThis is a no cost advantage to them, increasing their readiness and potential to pursue the next in-demand jobs in accounting and finance. 

We fill these specific roles:
  • Accountants (staff) 
  • AP/AR Specialists
  • Business Operations Managers/Specialists  
  • Credit Analysts 
  • Financial and Business Analysts
  • Payroll Specialists 

Manpower Finance is built around your needs for a future-ready workforce as well as the talent community’s expectations of flexibility, work/life balance and career path opportunities.  

Attracting and retaining talent is our specialty. Find out how we can help you. Learn more.

For higher level Finance & Accounting, Internal Audit, Risk & Compliance, and Tax talent, please visit our partner brand, Jefferson Wells.

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