According to the latest UK Finance Labour Market Trends report by Morgan McKinley and market data analysts Vacancysoft, key recruitment trends show that tax jobs in London saw over 1,400 new professional vacancies across all sectors in England and Wales (E&W) in 2022.

This constituted over half (50.7%) of overall hiring for tax experts in the past year and a fall of 13.8% in relation to 2021, a considerable difference from 2021 when more than 16,000 tax vacancies were registered. Meanwhile, annual totals outside London reached over 1,300 new jobs in the rest of E&W in 2022, a -14.3% year-on-year fall compared to 2021.

Split by quarters, Q3 2022 was the peak for tax vacancies in the rest of E&W, with 361 jobs posted. However, the best quarter across the 2021-2023 period was experienced a year earlier in Q3 2021, with more than 470 tax vacancies published. 

Morgan McKinley senior manager for tax and audit Tom Wood commented: “In general, the first quarter of the calendar year has been challenging for several sectors, but whilst the tax market has had its own challenges, it is fair to say that it has been slightly less volatile than it was in 2022.

Let’s first look at in-house tax positions. It still remains tricky to attract tax professionals from newly qualified to Senior Manager level due to the specific requirements of both clients and candidates alike. However, there has certainly been increased internal capacity for hiring into tax teams, which is in no small way down to the introduction of Pillar 2 in the next 12 months. This will have a particular effect on larger corporations.”

Accountancy and Consulting leading the way 

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Delving into the performance for tax vacancies across the different sectors in E&W, Accountancy and Consulting has hit record levels of recruitment for these professionals in 2022, with over 1,300 postings. Despite being the top sector in volume terms, numbers were down 35.9% compared to 2021. This sector accounted for 47.5% share of the tax jobs total in 2022 (its smallest slice since 2020).

The South East largest region for tax jobs after London 

A regional breakdown of the recruitment of tax professionals in 2022 finds that the South East took the runners-spot after London, achieving over 300 new vacancies, but a less pronounced year-on-year fall of 6.2% in relation to 2021. The South East grew its overall proportion of total regional hiring by one percentage point, constituting 12% of all new tax vacancies in the past year.

However, the most significant yearly change across the 2021-2023 period was experienced in the South West, which saw tax vacancies fall by 29.9% compared to 2021 – dropping from more than 300 to over 200 job postings. Notably, this region has posted the best Q1 2023 performance after London, with over 70 new jobs published.

Big Four dominating hirings in 2022

Within the top 10 accountancy firms hiring in London, Big Four firm EY was the number-one hirer for tax jobs, the only one publishing over 100 tax vacancies in 2022. However, we forecast 2023 to experience a considerable year-on-year decrease of 61.1% in relation to 2022.

Fellow Big Four firm PwC ranked second with almost 100 new jobs posted. Our forecast shows that tax vacancies in London for this firm could register a year-on-year growth of around 5.3% compared to 2022.

Outside London, another Big Four company led the way in 2022, with KPMG dominating the market, registering over 120 jobs for tax professionals last year. The firm also performed remarkably in London, publishing 70 new vacancies in 2022.

Deloitte is the only Big Four firm failing to appear in the top 10 companies for tax jobs.