New finance hires struggle to get up to speed

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UK firms wait more than five months on average for new finance joiners to get up to speed, according to research by Robert Half

The study, which polled almost 5,000 CFOs in 14 countries, examined how traditional job roles are becoming more complex because of digital transformation.

CFOs in the UK reported that the key skills for finance professionals are changing. With digital transformation a priority for many organisations there is now more focus on skills such as data analysis (cited by 43% of CFOs), financial analysis (35%), and data forecasting (34%).

The report suggested that this could be a problem on an international scale. Almost all (93%) UK businesses find it challenging to attract qualified accounting and finance professionals. Globally the issue is equally pronounced, with 94% of businesses reporting similar challenges.

The report suggested that a shortage of skilled candidates places even greater pressure on organisations to ensure that they select the right candidate and train them effectively.

Matt Weston, UK managing director of Robert Half, said that it was important for businesses to provide clarity on the skills needed for a role.

“Identifying the right candidate in this current war for talent means that businesses need to define what skills and qualities are required for a successful role, then focus primarily on these alongside cultural fit,” he said.

“Defining the skills that can be learnt will allow businesses to expand their candidate pool and identify talent with the potential for long-term success.”

He added that it was vital for businesses to offer opportunities for personal development and on-the-job training to retain talented staff.

“Two major factors that lead new employees to consider leaving a job early include poor management and a lack of proper onboarding – including effective on-the-job training and personal development initiatives. This can be a crucial factor in ensuring that businesses hold on to their most talented new hires,” he said.

Training is key to ensuring that employees are productive and feel they have an incentive to advance and grow with the company.”

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