Taylor Hawkes Quarterly Audit Recruitment Overview

London's audit scene is undergoing a major transformation, and whilst we typically release our London audit firm salary review quarterly, in light of the recent dynamics in the audit climate, we believe this earlier update will be valuable to our clients.

Updated: 19th February 2024

Liam Hayes heads up our team of audit, outsourcing and financial reporting recruitment specialists, he has eight years of recruitment expertise and shares his insightful analysis of the key shifts impacting companies, from Top Ten to independent players and leverages his vast client network to present a comprehensive overview of the changing talent landscape.

Although it was once common for top firms to effortlessly attract high-achieving graduates from prestigious Russell Group universities, that dynamic is rapidly changing. This article analyses the current trends and offers insights for firms navigating this evolving climate.

Struggle for Strong Graduates
One of the most notable trends is the difficulty firms face in attracting strong graduate talent. Traditionally, recruitment through established channels sufficed. However, we're witnessing a decline in the number of suitable graduates with relevant degrees like Accounting, Mathematics, and Economics. Consequently, even leading firms are turning to recruitment agencies to fill their graduate trainee quotas.

Sticky First-Year Trainees
Furthermore, first-year trainees are exhibiting remarkable loyalty, staying with their initial firms for extended periods. On average, movement only occurs after 14-16 months, potentially indicating increased job satisfaction or concerns about leaving a stable position in a competitive market.

Demand at Senior Levels
The demand for talent shifts considerably at the second and third-year trainee level, along with newly qualified accountants and managers. Here, we observe a high demand driven by a limited candidate pool. This has led to firms offering increasingly competitive salaries to attract and retain talent. In fact, starting salaries for newly qualified seniors typically exceed £55k, irrespective of firm size.


Salary Averages

College Leaver

£20,000 – £24,000

University Graduate

£24,000 - £28,000

Second year Audit Trainee

£28,000  – £34,000

Third year Audit Trainee to Finalist

£36,000  - £42,000

Newly  Qualified Auditor

£54,000  – £58,000

One year PQ Auditor at AM level

£58,000  – £60,000


£60,000  – £75,000

Senior Manager

£70,000  – £90,000 

Associate Director

£80,000  – £90,000


£90,000  – £120,000

Strategies for Success
In this competitive environment, firms can adopt several strategies to attract and retain top talent:

  • Retention Bonuses: Offering a bonus to newly qualified professionals who stay with the firm after a set period (e.g., 12 months) incentivises longer tenure and reduces training costs associated with frequent turnover.
  • Specialisation Opportunities: Candidates are highly interested in the chance to specialise in specific sectors, allowing them to develop deeper expertise and gain valuable industry knowledge.
  • Advisory Work: Offering exposure to advisory work beyond traditional audit and accounting tasks attracts ambitious individuals seeking diverse experiences and career growth.
  • International Recruitment: Partnering with agencies can unlock skilled international talent pools, like South African auditors, offering valuable perspectives and diverse skillsets.
  • Remote Working Strategies: Exploring remote working models, potentially employing auditors in lower-cost regions within the UK with occasional on-site visits, offers a unique value proposition and expands the talent pool.

The Managerial Challenge
While the demand for talented managers remains high, attracting them away from their established positions proves challenging. Firms might consider innovative incentives and career development opportunities to entice this sought-after segment.

In conclusion. the accounting and audit recruitment landscape is evolving rapidly. Understanding these trends and implementing strategic recruitment methods will be crucial for firms to secure the best talent and thrive in this competitive environment. By offering attractive salaries, specialisation opportunities, and a dynamic work environment, firms can position themselves as compelling destinations for the next generation of accounting and audit professionals.

If you need strategic advice on any of the points touched on in this article, or advice/commentary on salaries and talent landscapes in different regions, please reach out at |  LinkedIn



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