Competing to Win in the Finance Talent War


13 Sep 2017

CIPFA-Penna, Local Government, Interim, Executive Interim, Finance

Competing to Win in the Finance Talent War

As a Finance Lead in Local Government recruiting across both the interim and permanent market, I have noticed an increase in permanent opportunities within Local Government especially within the £50,000 to £60,000 salary range.   

With a market place that has more opportunities than candidates it is therefore essential that an, authority sets itself apart and becomes an employer of choice to attract the right talent. There is not a simple answer, talent is obviously in the eye of the beholder and therefore what suits one organisation and role may be different for another.  Candidates generally apply based on location and salary first, so if these are equal, then it is the intangibles that start to determine their choices – e.g. career prospects, brand and culture of the authority and their reputation. Authorities therefore need to ensure they have all things covered.

Quality candidates are also being lost to the commercial sector so it’s essential that the public sector in general has a good employee value proposition to hang on to them! At CIPFA-Penna we work very hard to make the public sector appeal to candidates and we encourage candidates to speak to the authority or recruiter involved to gain a full picture of the opportunity. But what if this isn’t available – imagine how many prospective candidates may not even apply. So high candidate care during the process is essential.

If employers want to secure the right quality candidates, they must also be more receptive to the transfer of skills and qualifications from those working in the wider public sector and commercial sector.  And as we advise many clients be prepared to develop someone to create the ideal candidate, your investment will pay off and having someone grow into the role is much better than an ongoing vacancy.

What remains key for any finance professional is having the appropriate experience, together with the qualifications (preferably CIPFA in most cases) and the right attitude. With public sector organisations continuing to transform, the increasing demand for an understanding of commerciality is high on the agenda.  So while the market is challenging you can win the war for talent if you broaden your horizons and think through the recruitment process from a candidate who has lots of choice point of view!

Philippa Watkins - Finance Lead, Local Government