Finance talent: How business leaders can find it

Blog | October 23, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

Amid challenges like an unpredictable economy, a finance talent shortage and rising compensation for financial professionals, these four strategies can help you attract and retain employees without hurting the bottom line.

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Whatever the economy is doing, companies are always looking for ways to cut costs—yet compensation for finance professionals continues to climb.

According to the Association for Financial Professionals’ 2023 AFP Compensation Survey, accountants, controllers, analysts, and other financial professionals realized a 5% gain in their base salaries in 2022, the largest increase in the past 10 years. This means that, even as revenues are threatened, overhead is growing.

Add to this that the finance industry is facing a talent shortage (according to 60% of AFP survey respondents) and you can see the predicament finance leaders are in: They must attract and retain high-performing employees to fill critical positions—without busting their budgets.

So, what’s a finance leader to do? Read on for four strategies to economically staff for success in this current workforce environment.

Recruiting finance talent tip 1: Offer a competitive compensation and benefits package

This should come as no surprise, but if you aren’t offering a competitive compensation and benefits package appropriate to the role, industry, and region, you won’t attract and retain top talent, a sentiment shared by 65% of AFP survey respondents.

Even as half of respondents reported that management at their organizations is concerned about a recession, sacrificing compensation and benefits is not part of the belt-tightening measures being taken, such as cutting costs (outside of compensation and benefits) and streamlining business operations.

So, if most companies are committed to competitive compensation and benefits packages—in other words, the bare minimum—how can you stand out to net top finance talent, while keeping the bottom line top of mind?

Beyond must-haves like health, dental and vision insurance; life insurance; and retirement plans, consider nice-to-have perks that add significant value to a job offer. Think: unlimited PTO, paid parental leave, reimbursement for tuition and other professional certifications, stock options and volunteer leave, which allows employees to volunteer time to causes they’re passionate about during work hours.

Recruiting finance talent tip 2: Offer a flexible work environment

While much of life has returned to normal post-pandemic, the demand for flexible working environments has not. In fact, remote and hybrid work arrangements was cited as the number-one reason for employee retention by 50% of AFP survey respondents whose organizations are not experiencing a talent shortage.

In addition to fostering greater work-life balance for employees, flexible working arrangements have also been shown to increase productivity among workers and offer cost savings for companies through a reduction in physical office space. It’s a win-win.

tips on how business leaders can find talent

Recruiting finance talent tip 3: Reward and recognize employees

A little praise can go a long way when it comes to employee satisfaction: 47% of treasury and finance practitioners from the AFP survey said recognizing and rewarding employees will prevent staff from resigning and mitigate any challenges in filling vacant positions.

The best part? It doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Skip hollow incentives like pizza parties. Instead, acknowledge employee efforts with rewards will make a true impact on their well-being and inspire recommitment to their job, like more decision-making power, career planning and support, and greater flexibility in how and when work is accomplished.

Recruiting finance talent tip 4: Invest in upskilling and learning opportunities

High-performing employees eventually stagnate, and they’ll only wait so long before moving on to other opportunities that challenge them.

Providing upskilling and learning opportunities is one way to prevent staff resignations or challenges in hiring, according to 40% of AFP survey respondents. (Upskilling was also mentioned in the survey among recession-proofing strategies.) Online courses, in-person conferences and mentorship programs are a couple ways you can encourage your employees’ professional growth, which will, in turn, benefit your company.

Staffing decisions during economic uncertainty can be difficult to navigate, especially when there’s pressure to brace for a recession with measures like initiating hiring freezes (33% of AFP survey respondents) or implementing layoffs (23% of respondents). But if business leaders focus on recruiting top finance talent and maintaining their job satisfaction with these four strategies to boost finance recruitment, your company will be staffed for success—through these current volatile market dynamics and beyond.