The Top Three Issues on the Minds of Job Seekers in Tax

As I stand here at my desk typing this out (my Boulder friend reminds me that sitting at a desk is the new smoking) many of you are saddling up for another busy season or forging your way through year end. Whatever your situation, we are heading into a time of year where for some tax professionals feelings of frustration and discomfort around work start to come up. They start to question things and ask themselves if there might be something better out there. A job that would offer more happiness…..perhaps a better culture (whatever that means). In talking to hundreds of tax professionals this past year, here are the 3 issues that are currently top of mind for job seekers:

1) Where do I work? It’s been an interesting 3+ years since most of us went home and tried to do our job effectively after being thrust into the remote work world. Although things seem to be settling down a bit, there is still an evolution of where we work taking place in the background. Company policies are still in flux and many employees are still very vocal about their preference. As was the case last year, employees tend to favor remote work and employers tend to favor in office. Whether you’re an employee or an employer, being inflexible seems to limit your options. That’s not to say you can’t get what you want, but that it might take longer and limit your choices. At present, with unemployment numbers low for tax professionals, the “power” seems to remain in the hands of the employees. If we see unemployment numbers start to rise (did someone say recession?) the power dynamics might shift.

2) How much will I get paid? Even 6 months ago we were seeing compensation levels rising at unsustainable rates. Today, although I still see strong offers being made, they are far more reasonable. If you’re thinking you can still buy a house and afford the higher interest rates by getting a new employer to pay for it, you may have missed the boat. If you didn’t get some type of salary adjustment over the last 3-4 years, you might be underpaid.

I don’t think employee sentiment is quite so bitter about being underpaid. A lot of people saw an adjustment to their earnings over the past few years, whether it happened during a job change or their employer offered a correction to bring them in line with the market. That said, until we see unemployment start to tick up, it’s hard not to think that companies will have to continue to “pay” to hire and retain employees.

3) What is the work-life balance like? This question has been on the minds of candidates for over a decade now. While it’s still important to job seekers, it doesn’t seem to be the main talking point like it was before the remote/in-person debate hit the scene. Maybe employees are willing to work more hours if they can do it from the comfort of their home. Or maybe, because they are working from home, their employer doesn’t really know how much they are working? Whatever the perception and reality, the issue of work-life balance is intertwined with all of the other issues. There is a balance between how much I work, where I get to work and how much you have to pay me for these things.

It’s an interesting time to be a recruiter. Overall, the market remains good, but we are seeing some early signs of companies watching budgets closer and limiting certain expenses. The pool of good tax talent remains low and hiring can be a challenge, especially for public accounting firms.
I appreciate the ongoing support we get from tax professionals in Colorado and want to announce we are going to be expanding into the state of Washington (again). If you or anyone you know is interested in being made aware of tax opportunities in Washington, I will put you in touch with Jonathan Cowles.

Jay McCauley

To your continued success,

Jay McCauley
Executive Recruiter, Oxford Tax Recruiting
(303) 730-0100