The jobs market for newly qualified accountants is…incredible right now. Here’s why…


There is a long-established pattern of hiring activity (demand) around Newly Qualified Accountants which typically peaks in April/May and Sept/Oct each year, coinciding with the end of training contracts.

The cycle looks something like this:  Company A goes to market, hires a newly qualified accountant and, 12 -18 months later, as they 1) move to a new company, 2) move internally, 3) leave to travel overseas, and so on… a gap is created again and Company A goes back to the market to hire another newly qualified accountant. Make sense?

This pattern has driven demand for many years but there are a number of new elements at play in 2021 that are creating a reasonably unique moment in time.  These elements include:

Effects on supply:

  • Newly qualified accountants in 2021 have a realistic chance of moving internationally in 2022 and are opting for contracts or staying on in their firms as they bide their time.  Result = lower supply
  • As practices have continued to diversify their revenue streams there are far more internal opportunities for newly qualified accountants in larger firms than there were traditionally.  Less newly qualified accountants are looking externally post-training contract than in times gone by.  Result = lower supply.
  • Currently (December – February) we are in between contract end dates which naturally means less newly qualified accountants are available.  Result = lower supply

Overall there is currently a severe lack of newly qualified accountant talent nationally at present.  Good news for candidates (more choice); not so good news for hiring managers(less choice). 

Effects on Demand:

  • Pent-up demand from 2020 and early 2021 has resulted in a surge in demand for newly qualified accountants in the latter part of 2021.  This we can expect to continue into at least Q1 of 2022.  Result = higher demand
  • People that came out of training contract in 2019 and made their first move out of practice are now looking for their first move (internally or externally) as they hit the 1-2 year PQE mark (they did not have this option in 2020).  Pent up ambition to move is seeing significant shifts in existing teams.  When they move/are promoted this leaves a gap behind in the team.  Result = higher demand
  • The economy is booming in many areas and industries such as pharma, tech etc., and similar are booming globally.  Ireland has disproportionate representation in these industry areas.  Result = higher demand.

Overall there is a level of demand for Newly Qualified accountants at present that is unprecedented.

When demand is up and supply is down there are some obvious consequences, including:

  • Candidate driven market – candidates can be more specific in terms of their expectations around role, industry location etc… (see the Barden Career Model for more on this here >>>).  and in some instances, smaller firm trained individuals are gaining access to multinational companies where typically this would have been a far less likely option.
  • Hiring managers can not be as selective and need to be more open-minded in terms of background, academics, and salary.

In summary, as a result of these factors, the jobs market has become incredibly buoyant for newly qualified accountants and this is likely to be the case until March 2022 at the very least.  If you’re considering your options drop a line to and one of our qualified accountant recruitment experts will make sure you get access to the best opportunities in town.

Coming out of your training contract in 2022? Do you want to make sure you make the very best first step after qualifying? Do you want a virtual coffee meeting with an expert recruitment consultant; someone who is a qualified accountant, just like you (meet some of our team here >>>)? Do you want a little help to create your very own best financial future? No problem. Just drop us a line today on and we will take it from there. Simple.

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