Wanted! Big 4 and Mid-Tier Skills in Exchange for Work-life Balance and Recognition

It has been a challenging pandemic for finance professionals in public practice at Big 4 and Mid-Tier chartered firms. They have been working long hours, with less people in their teams, often because of closed state and international borders. I have heard many stories of teams working at 70-75% capacity and facing challenges replacing staff. Yet, the wheels of big business keep turning, profits are up, the economy is charging ahead, and the work keeps coming in. One business leader was heard saying that they, “Were very sorry that additional staff could not be found, but that nothing could be done about it and that the manager in question would just have to work harder to meet deadlines and client expectations.”

These hard-working managers are already pulling more than their weight and they are starting to consider their options. They want a purpose to contribute to and a culture that is supportive.

In our recent conversations with job seekers, the story seems to be the same across multiple companies. There is a general feeling of a lack of recognition and staff are often not feeling appreciated for their hard work. Firms have done their best to try and keep teams engaged during lockdowns and remote working, but it has not always hit the mark. Often, they are running their teams leanly and partners are continuing to chase client work on the back of economic recovery and growth. The current situation is neither tenable nor sustainable. Whereas once upon a time staff would have continued to put up with a lot to make their way up to partner or director, many now consider leaving when they achieve the status of manager.

The good news for these talented professionals is that the very skills they have learned in their time at a Big 4 firm or Mid-Tier chartered practice are very much in demand. Their transferrable skills are hugely useful in risk and treasury in-house functions. The years they have spent working their way from analyst to manager have taught them processes, methodologies, financial modelling along with a strong work ethic, stakeholder management and how to work to deadlines.

We recently helped a job seeker who moved from a public practice role in treasury capital markets into a treasury and hedging role for a non-bank lender. Our client loved that he came from a high performing role with the credibility and training received in public practice. Our candidate loved exchanging a role that had very long hours, the stress of meeting billable hours, and limited recognition for a much more relaxed future career. He still had deadlines to meet but they were team related. He leapt at the chance for work-life balance and the career development opportunities they were offering him, as well as a step up in salary. A great result for all! I will not be surprised to see him work his way up to treasurer in the coming years.

Our non-bank lending clients can offer candidates a great place to work, where they can learn the business and get involved with stakeholder management at a different level. Rather than dealing with arbitrary deadlines and demanding clients, they are instead managing the internal expectations of the C-suite. Staff that do their jobs well in these organisations get recognised accordingly.

I am seeing high attrition rates in teams at the Big 4 and Mid-Tier chartered firms and I suspect it is likely to get worse. Staff who are leaving are discerning and are researching companies, values, policies, and benefits prior to deciding to leave. They are choosing less hours, flexibility, and a manageable workload over a significant jump in salary.

If you are a finance professional with 3-5 years’ experience in the finance industry, then get in touch. I have several non-bank lenders in the lucrative mortgage market looking for your very transferrable skills. They are offering career development opportunities and work life balance. Now is the perfect time to move, whilst international mobility is still very low. You can contact us for a confidential career discussion and to get an insider’s view on the market for your skills. We can help you find your next dream job.