Newsletter & Market Report

 

BLT’s Customs & Global Trade Team distribute a quarterly Newsletter with the latest insights on the world of Indirect Tax.

You can see our latest newsletter below along with links to some of our previous ones.

In addition we publish an Indirect Tax Market Report & Salary Survey every two years, available on request, which is packed to the brim with useful information such as:

  • Detailed global salary bandings and bonus trends for both the professional services and in-house markets;
  • Detailed commentary on the UK and international hiring trends;
  • The efforts to address the gender imbalance;
  • The most popular levels of experience for different types of businesses to recruit from;
  • Qualifications, and much, much more.

To request to be added to the Indirect Tax mailing lists, please send an email to customs@blt.co.uk, acknowledging agreement to BLT’s Privacy Policy so that we can store your email address on our systems.

 

Latest Newsletter

 

Mar 2021

Dear Subscriber,

Good old Indirect Tax. The speed of the return to typical hiring levels (and then some) for some parts of the Indirect Tax job market has been astonishing – and we’re not even out of lockdown yet. The positive picture isn’t uniform – whilst demand in certain quarters has reached sky high levels, other parts of the market remain sluggish, but the overall picture is much more cheerful than anyone expected it to be – it just goes to show that even the unimaginable impact of a global pandemic can’t knock the value of Indirect Tax expertise – something that the Indirect Tax discipline can wholeheartedly celebrate.

Professional Services VAT

It feels like many firms in the UK are trying to make up for lost time, with most back on the recruitment drive with a vengeance. The articulated needs are almost exclusively for ‘just qualified’ and Manager level advisors (or equivalent grade terminology), plus a smattering of Senior Manager/Associate Director slots particularly in regional settings. Almost universally, Indirect Tax consulting practices have reported exceptionally busy times throughout the pandemic, whether Brexit related or otherwise – and perhaps that’s why recruitment at the grades that you would typically think of as being largely delivery focused have been the first to recover.

Looking at things in the round, the less excitable messaging around hiring at the very senior grades (barring a couple of noticeable exceptions) and the lack of enthusiasm for considering applicants at the very junior grades could signify that firms aren’t looking too far ahead just yet – it seems very much about the here and now needs. Employers need to invest in making sure that their team at the Manager and experienced Assistant Manager levels are feeling constantly and consistently engaged, valued and rewarded as there’s real competition for talent out there – and it’s not as easy to spot when someone is having an ‘off’ day when they’re not in the same building.

In relation to Indirect Tax technology and compliance offerings, some early birds caught some early worms when recruitment lethargy started to lift towards the end of 2020, which means that now there appears to be fewer active opportunities in this field around than there were before the pandemic. There’ll always be the potential to create room for that elusive combo of technology expertise plus real technical knowledge of VAT as a tax, but in addition, If any employers are in the market for good European VAT compliance skills at around the Assistant Manager-ish grades, do let us know, as it’s a good time to pick up some good people.

Click here to see a few of the Professional Services jobs we are currently working on.

In-house VAT

There’s been flurries of activity here and there which has been great to see, but the market is missing its usual consistency and volume. We’ve counted a mere 15 new permanent VAT in-house starters in the UK at all levels between January and March 2021, as opposed to 33 in the same period last year, so that tells a story. No real identifiable rhyme or reason as to levels of hire so far; some replacement roles but also some newly created ones in companies where the pandemic has seen big change/growth. Refreshingly, there’s been a handful that have come in over the £six figure mark looking for specific backgrounds and skillsets – this type of role has been fairly infrequent in recent years. VAT compliance accountant positions remain a rarity.

In usual downturn recovery circumstances, the in-house job market picks up about 6 months after professional services, so that should mean around now-ish….but there’s no such thing as usual circumstances in this day and age! The in-house market outside of the UK remains slow, so no signs just yet that Brexit has made any difference as to where in-house VAT functions are likely to be situated.

Click here to see a few of the In-house VAT jobs we are currently working on.

Customs & Global Trade

Brexit and the associated increased Customs burden is continuing to be a headache for many businesses. All the Customs & Global Trade consultancy teams are incredibly busy and most would make a case to hire those with UK consulting experience at Manager/Assistant Manager level. A number of organisations have also set up hubs of compliance specialists to work alongside advisory teams to provide complete customs compliance solutions. The focus for in-house hiring has been largely at the more junior compliance end to work through the increased bulk of compliance requirements, with just a handful of more senior strategic roles over the last few months – hopefully more will follow when businesses have a clearer idea of what’s required in the post Brexit world.

Click here to see a few of the Customs & Global Trade jobs we are currently working on.

Indirect Tax candidate shortages

This is a perennial issue in Indirect Tax, as there’s never enough people to go round in the best of times – but in the current climate it’s causing real problems. We’re hearing more and more stories of under-resourced and over-worked Indirect Tax functions, and given what people have been through personally over the last year, resilience levels are low in many quarters. Recruiting more talent should and will be part of the fix, but to get it right you need to sell your role to a currently cautious audience. Trusting solely in responses to a robotic corporate advert on LinkedIn in the interests of saving a few pennies is unlikely to find you the best person for the job – and one which often results in recruitment mistakes that BLT are increasingly called upon to rectify. Amongst a good number of inappropriate applicants, you’ll also likely only get access to those actively scouring the job pages in search of a new role; not always the person that will fit the best. Wasting time dreaming that the perfect candidate will somehow spot (and respond to) your advert can also result in the biggest danger of all – a job that the market views as ‘stale’. Give us a call – we’ll help reduce the risk, be honest with you about what’s out there and turn what you have to offer into a more human experience for both employer and jobseeker.

Missed the big news round at BLT?

A huge congratulations to Liz Watt who retired from BLT at the end of 2020 after 32 years’ sterling service – have a read here. Liz has set up her own Coaching business, called Liz Watt Coaching, but will still remain part of the BLT family – as she has kindly agreed to continue to run BLT’s hugely successful Women in Indirect Tax Network Groups, which go from strength to strength. Liz is currently accepting new membership requests – for more information do contact Liz at liz@lizwattcoaching.co.uk.

The future: working practices post pandemic

The results of the BLT ‘How are you?’ Survey are in and sheds some light on the experiences of the Indirect Tax population during this last year. Crucially, it also provides some insight as to what Indirect Tax employees expect from their working environment as we return to some semblance of normality.

Like what we do?

As a small business, our success has always relied on our reputation and word of mouth amongst the Indirect Tax community. We’re eternally grateful to all those who champion the BLT cause year in, year out. Whether you’ve used us to recruit, or whether you’ve been placed by us, maybe you might like to recommend us on LinkedIn? It’s very easy to do. Just go to the profiles of Guy Barrand and/or Emma Wade, click ‘More’, then ‘Recommend’. We’d really appreciate your support.

We’re full of the joys of Spring round here at BLT – and looking forward to vaccines, pub gardens and seeing each other and you all in person once more.

Best wishes

BLT’s Indirect Tax Team

Guy Barrand & Emma Wade

 

 

Previous Newsletters

November 2020 – Newsletter

April 2020 – Newsletter

November 2019 – Newsletter

May 2019 – Newsletter

February 2019 – Newsletter

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