Morgan McKinley has recently released its UK Accounting, Finance & Support Salary Guide for 2011. This report provides insight into current salary and hiring trends for accounting, finance and support professionals working in commerce and industry (C&I), professional services and the public sector.

These are clearly diverse markets but overall, the recruitment outlook is much more positive than at the same time last year. Our market knowledge, and anecdotal evidence from our clients, points to 10-20% growth in hiring activity across the board in 2011. Although this is a pleasing forecast, hiring levels are still relatively suppressed when compared to pre-recession data.

The C&I, professional services and public sector recruitment markets felt the effects of the global financial crisis in H2 2009, around 12 months after the financial services sector. It is a similar scenario with market recovery; while last year saw a rebound for financial services, it is predicted that 2011 will be the year of measured growth for C&I, professional services and the public sector.

Recent statistics published in Accountancy state that 58% of FTSE 100 companies are now led by an accountant or finance specialist. This year will see significant emphasis on finance professionals at all levels, as companies work to meet top line sales targets while protecting their bottom lines. Commercially-minded finance professionals with skill sets that concentrate on analysis and financial integrity will be in high demand.

Increased demand for support services professionals is often a good indicator of economic recovery. It is therefore heartening that we forecast hiring activity in this space to rise by 10-15% in 2011. These roles are becoming more diverse and support staff are now often called upon to assist with value-adding marketing or HR projects.

This year should also see a continued rise in temporary and interim hiring. More and more companies are hiring contractors to undertake specific projects, provide extra resources during busy periods or maintain a flexible workforce during times of uncertainty. The perception is that contractors can ‘hit the ground running’ and produce rapid, strategically-enhanced results.

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Chris Leeson is Managing Director of Morgan McKinley's Accounting and Finance Division as well as La Creme, its Office Support Division, across the UK.

Chris has more than 10 years' experience in the recruitment market. He is responsible for ensuring Morgan McKinley and La Creme continue to optimise service delivery, maximise profitability and grow market share across their eight UK locations.