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Senior finance jobs: UK market overview with Dawn White

Senior finance jobs: UK market overview with Dawn White

Dawn White, our client partner specialising in senior finance appointments, looks at the current state of the market for senior finance jobs in the UK and the key trends affecting the recruitment of senior finance execs such as CFOs, Finance Directors, Group Financial Controllers, Divisional Finance Directors and Heads of Finance.

“The landscape has certainly changed with the meteoric rise of private equity investment, VC funding and technology disrupting almost all sectors of business. Technology, AI, software and Fintech are now very much in the ascendancy whereas others industries such as retail, hospitality and travel are still as popular but not seeing the growth they experienced pre-2008 (in part more recently due to the pandemic). What this means for senior finance candidates is that they have much wider choice of career opportunities, in role, sector, ownership of business, business model and culture – from the traditional FTSE multinationals to a VC backed enterprise and everything in between.

“The demand for top talent remains buoyant as we approach the end of 2021. This has kept salaries very competitive with organisations having to pull out the stops to entice best in class candidates to join their organisations. Reward packages will typically not only include bonuses and equity but also incentives such as LTIPs and STIPs for greater earning potential based on performance.

“For senior finance roles, hiring managers are looking for well-rounded individuals who can demonstrate career progression and their achievements in each role they’ve had. Experience of change programmes, transformation, turnaround and M&A are also highly sought after. In addition, most firms are looking for business leaders who can develop and grow their teams as well as being confident when facing analysts and shareholders.

“All senior finance professionals, no matter if working in technical or commercial finance roles, must have an eye for detail and deliver high quality work. The vast majority of organisations also require previous sector experience and they will look favourably on those who have worked in companies that have expanded their businesses and have delivered growth and increased profit.

‘Essential’ senior finance skills

“Companies and hiring managers must be clear on the profile they’re looking for and the essential versus desirable skills they want. Understanding the market at a particular point in time is crucial in identifying the right talent, establishing market worth and meeting those expectations. The recruitment process needs to be managed effectively. While it will take some time to find the right person, you must be upfront and transparent with timescales, and keep to those timescales where possible, or risk losing candidates.

“It’s also important to consider the person’s overall strengths, not just in terms of their technical finance and people skills but consider whether or not they’re a good fit for the company. While flexible working is widely offered and expected, due to the nature and seniority of their roles, CFOs and Heads of Finance will also need to be seen to be leading from the front.

“For candidates looking to make a key career move, I would say, think about what you’re trying to achieve at this point in time, in this particular career move. Make sure you tailor your CV, keep it concise and relevant, outlining all your key responsibilities and achievements to date. Go through it carefully and make sure every section is as impactful as possible – you need detail but also to show clarity of thought. Your CV is your career in a nutshell and is therefore a sales document. With so many options available now, it’s important to sell yourself, be prepared and don’t make hasty decisions. Keep focused and be ready to make the right decision when it presents itself.”

With 30 years’ experience recruiting permanent senior finance executives in London, the home counties, the southeast and rest of the UK, Dawn has hired every type of finance role for many organisations, sectors and business propositions.   

You can reach Dawn at or call 07808789046.

Learn more about our UK senior finance recruitment solutions

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