Career Changes During The Pandemic

Shifting priorities during the global pandemic provide new job opportunities for finance professionals equipped to adapt to change.

We’re living through a period of immense economic uncertainty as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to play out. In times like these, it might seem cavalier for finance professionals to think about making career moves, especially when many people have lost or are at risk of losing their jobs. And yet, in many ways, this is an opportune time to consider a change.

Businesses are rethinking how they work and are reorganizing, so they’re eager to bring in people with new ideas. If you have the right skills—and the confidence to market them—there’s no reason why you shouldn’t position yourself to move up the ladder.

But before you start refreshing your résumé and contacting a recruiting firm, here are a few things you need to know about the current job market for finance and accounting roles.

There are opportunities at all levels. The first wave of the pandemic caused a slowdown in hiring among finance executives, as many senior leaders decided to stay and help steady the ship. Yet leaders at all levels will continue to move up or move on as economic conditions stabilize, creating vacancies within the hierarchy and ample opportunities for highly skilled candidates.

Remote working means a broader search. One takeaway from the global pandemic: Remote working works. Most teams did fine when they had to transition to a virtual workplace, and 60% of workers surveyed by Robert Half said remote working improved their work-life balance. Companies also adapted to remote hiring processes, with 61% advertising fully remote jobs during the pandemic and 75% conducting online interviews and onboarding.

For job seekers at any level, this is a huge boost to your prospects. Your geographical location—and that of job openings—are of much less concern when you can interview, get hired, and log in to work each day from your home office.

Salaries are stable or growing. Data for Robert Half’s Accounting & Finance Salary Guide 2021 was compiled after the first wave of the pandemic, when the economy had taken its biggest hit. Despite the economic downturn, the figures show average starting salaries have remained stable or even climbed slightly higher compared to the year before. The following are examples of midpoint starting salaries in corporate accounting (note that these are U.S. national averages):

  • Chief financial officer: $203,750
  • Divisional controller: $147,250
  • Senior accountant: $81,000
  • Financial analyst (one to three years of experience): $69,500

Although many companies have instituted hiring and pay freezes, there’s still a lot of competition for top-tier talent. In fact, a recent Robert Half survey found that 36% of employers are more willing to negotiate on starting salaries now than they were a year ago.

Source: SF Magazine
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