What can you add to your benefits package to attract the top talent?

In recent weeks we’ve shared lots of our thoughts on how firms can work hard to attract the biggest fish in a shallow pool of talent.

And today we wanted to list the benefits that some firms are offering that we think make a real difference to whether brilliant accountants are lured away from their current roles.

But, first we wanted to reassure leaders at smaller firms that we understand that offering this full list of benefits might be out of the question. They can total a huge amount of expenditure and for independent practices this can be too tall of an ask. But, we can remind practices both larger and small, that not all employee value benefits come with a huge price tag attached. Sometimes we encounter talented accountants that are looking for a new role with a smaller firm that offers more in the way of personalised service and more deeply aligned values and will go without the bells and whistles if they find it.

So, here’s our pick and mix list of employee benefits that employers from all types and sizes of accountancy practices can take their pick from.

Let’s start with the most obvious.

SALARY

We can’t pretend that this isn’t the biggest driving force for the movement of talented accountants in 2022. And it’s one that we won’t beat around the bush with. If you contact us looking for support in filling a role and the salary you’re prepared to offer is wildly below the figure that exceptional accountants we have registered with us are able to demand, we’ll be honest about that. It’s not in either of our interests to waste time and recruitment budget trying to fill a post that doesn’t have the right salary attached.

If you need some help understanding market trends and what kinds of figures you should be attaching to your vacant posts then take a look at the salary guide we prepared last year, look at other comparative roles on our jobs pages or contact us for some confidential advice.

Annual Leave and Company Pension 

We’re bundling these benefits in together as once again they are really the bare bones of a basic (and legal) package that all accountants will expect to receive.

Almost all workers in the UK are entitled to the pro rate equivalent of 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year (which includes bank holidays). But many firms offer more than this. With a standard year having 8 bank holidays (this year sees 9 due to the Queen’s Jubilee) this leave allocation usually ends up as 20 additional days of holiday for most full time workers. Can you offer more than that? It won’t go unnoticed by job hunters if you do! Or perhaps you can think of unusual ways of upping your allocation. Perhaps all staff get their birthdays off as leave, or perhaps everyone gets three additional days to use between Christmas and New Year. Our advice is to offer more than the bare minimum.

When it comes to pensions, the vast majority of employed accountants will need to be auto enrolled into a company pension scheme which their employer will need to contribute to. Employees can opt out, but it’s a legal requirement that they are enrolled initially. At present, as an employer, you must pay in 3% to your employee’s pension fund, but can you afford to increase that? You’ll be ahead of the game if you can and you’ll be able to list an enhanced company pension onto your list of attractive benefits.

Flexibility in the workplace

This one is huge and if you can find a way to make it work, you’ll attract a much wider pool of talent. And the great thing about offering benefits such as flexi time and hybrid or remote working is that they can actually save you money on premises and overheads in the long run.

Medical Insurance or Life Assurance

We know that this benefit comes with a significant price tag. But if your firm can afford it, you’ll find it’s a brilliant incentive for attracting top tier talent.

A corporate responsibility programme

In 2022 the new generation of accountants want to contribute to their communities and protect their environment. We’ve written before about the demands of the Gen Z workforce, and by letting prospective employees know that you have a mechanism for giving back, whether it be by supporting an important charity financially or by holding team away days to practically help initiatives in your community, you’ll be attracting whole swathes of workers who could be your future leadership team.

Study support and a defined onward career pathway

We mention these two hand in hand as we strongly urge you to commit to both. Time and time again we see firms invest in supporting the study of their junior workforce only to lose them to a competitor when they fail to provide the right opportunities for them to showcase (and be rewarded for) the new qualifications and skills they may have gained.

Finally don’t forget the value of being part of a cohesive and happy team

If you can showcase to prospective employees that your firm is a great place to work you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors. Whether it be a monthly pub quiz or some kind of team physical challenge you all get involved in, these things will matter to accountants who have missed working with others during the pandemic. So don’t forget to mention them when you let us know about your vacancies.

‘At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re constantly developing great relationships with the best accountants out there looking for their next challenge. So if you want to design your package of benefits to perfectly align with the needs of specific candidates we can help you make that work.’

Garry Howling, MD

Do give us a call to discuss how best to make use of the budget, time and resources you have to put towards your employee value benefits. We’re on hand to help and our experience in the niche sector of public practice will save you time and money. Contact the experts today. 

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