With more international borders re-opening and the resurgence of tourism in 2023, there has been a conservative uptick in hiring activity for Accounting & Finance professionals in the Philippines. Michele Manabat, Manager at Robert Walters Philippines, says that hiring within the consumer healthcare and retail industries centred on high-priority, strategic functions aimed at fortifying business growth and stability amidst market volatility.
“Hundreds of infrastructure projects were also approved, and this coincided with a growing emphasis on renewable energy initiatives. Together, this led to a sharp rise in demand from the construction and engineering sectors,” he adds.
However, global events created a challenging local economic climate with heightened inflation, rising costs of living and increased fuel and commodity prices. Many workers approached existing or prospective employers with demands for more competitive salary and benefits, and the proximity of their work locations also factored into their considerations.
Read on to find out more about Michele’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Accounting & Finance professionals in the Philippines in 2024.
Looking into the year ahead, Michele expects that flexible work models will continue to prevail across regional and multinational corporations.
“We saw in 2023 that it has become more commonplace for foreign companies to employ skilled accounting and finance professionals at consultancy level. They tend to offer remote work models and higher compensation, so companies who make the shift to working on-site will likely face difficulties with attracting and retaining their talent,” she elaborates.
Hiring levels have stabilised for companies new to the Philippine market, and it is expected that there will be a sustained demand for well-rounded talent with operations experience.
Although flexible and hybrid work models will remain the norm for many organisations, in the year ahead, the industrial sector will begin to transition back to working on-site full-time. This will be particularly prevalent among construction, engineering, renewable energy and manufacturing companies, which Michele believes will prioritise candidates who are ready to go on-site every day as businesses make productivity and efficiency a core priority.
While consumers will continue to interact with brands digitally through e-commerce platforms, many consumer industries, such as retail and food and beverages, will remain bullish on expanding and improving their physical storefronts to provide a strong customer experience in-person. Many companies will lean on financial data and analytics to stay on top of ever-changing consumer demands and to inform their business strategy.
As such, the market will prize talent that can use data analytics to decode consumer behaviour and help businesses make strategic financial decisions. Such roles include financial controllers with a blended experience in FP&A, business partnering and strategic planning. This demand will be consistent across all industries.
Companies will also place a premium on project management skillsets, especially if a candidate has demonstrable competencies in automation and process improvement. This comes as companies seek to improve efficiency, productivity and costs management.
Stakeholder management skills are also in demand, with companies seeking out candidates who can set clear expectations among business partners and management to ensure projects and activities are executed smoothly.
Commercial finance business partners will remain in high demand across all industries next year. This function has mostly been prevalent in B2C sectors, and now B2B companies are also seeing how the function can help them identify growth opportunities.
Market conditions are erratic, so commercial finance is now more critical than ever as companies want to integrate data analytics into their financial and strategic planning for more successful business outcomes,” Michele explains.
Financial controllers with experience in finance and accounting operations, and who possess a proactive personality will be in demand among growing local organisations with leaner structures, as well as regional and multinational company hubs looking for a finance representative for their Philippine office.
Lastly, mid-level general accountants with strong backgrounds in local regulations and compliance will stay high among companies with lean organisational structures.
“As market conditions remain volatile and unpredictable, job seekers will continue to look at company stability when thinking about staying in their current jobs or exploring new opportunities,” says Michele. “To that end, we expect that more companies – especially newly established entities and expanding businesses – will provide existing and prospective employees with more transparency about their business outlook and plans and career development opportunities in 2024.”
Compensation and benefits are still a priority for candidates who are considering to switch jobs, given the higher commodity prices and inflation.
However, Michele points out that there is now equal, or more weightage given to work location, whether their benefits package accounts for costs and time for travel to work, and work-life integration.
In 2024, salaries are expected to increase by at least 10%, especially for CPA-qualified professionals and talent with in-demand skillsets.
The year ahead will also likely see a candidate-driven market, with hiring managers responding more aggressively to secure their preferred talent. Salary increments may go up by between 20 – 30% for some talent with multiple offers in hand at any given moment.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends for Accounting & Finance industry in the Philippines.
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Accounting & Finance, Philippines
As Manager of the accounting & finance team, Michele specialises in connecting top-tier candidates with clients, recruiting across middle-management to C-suite level positions.
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