Closing Down

The latest hiring trends within insolvency

Published on 7th November 2016

Prior to working in recruitment, I was fortunate to have worked within the Insolvency industry, working for both a boutique and mid-tier firm. This has exposed me to different cultures, company structures and ways of working. 

Recruitment has been an intriguing change to my previous career in Insolvency. Timesheets have been replaced by KPIs and annual reports replaced by candidate and client meetings. The fact that I have previously worked in Insolvency has been helpful with the transition for recruiting within this industry. However, there have been quite a few changes within the industry that I have noticed since joining Ambition.   

Staff requirements

A couple of years ago, the market was particularly quiet; firms were not hiring junior candidates. This has resulted in a present-day deficit in candidates who have around 1-2 years of experience (not restricted to region, county or city).  Whilst they are in high demand, they are few and far between. The end result is a large pool of candidates at Senior Administrator and Assistant manager level.

Senior level candidates i.e. Assistant Managers and above, were regularly requested at salaries between £40k – £50k. However, there has been a shift towards firms hiring internally, providing more ambitious Senior Administrators with greater levels of responsibility.

Skills in demand

There has recently been a trend for firms to opt for restructuring procedures i.e. Administrations and CVAs instead of resorting to winding up. This links with requests from some of our clients who want senior candidates to have a restructuring background.

According to figures released by the Insolvency Service, the number of corporate insolvencies in Q3 2016 rose by 2.2%. Statistics from the business advisory firm, FRP Advisory, show that the number of Company Administrations in Q3 are up 3.5% year on year. This would justify the point that restructuring is becoming a more attractive option for distressed companies and the firms assisting them.

Instead of just being able to work through a mixed insolvency caseload and supervise more junior members, senior staff are now required to have accounting qualifications (ACA, ACCA, CA), extensive experience in complex investigation work and Independent Business Reviews. These are skills which were previously only required within ‘the Big 4’ and Top 10; this has since trickled down to other accounting firms as well as Business advisory firms who are taking on more of this work.

There has been also been an increased request for candidates who are able to undertake complex, contentious investigations; usually a skillset reserved for those firms with Specialist Investigation teams, now becoming a more attractive commodity within the industry.

Future trends

The number of corporate insolvencies year-on-year hasn’t changed. The rise from Q2 2016 is based on potential concerns from Brexit and the restructuring option becoming more relevant.

This should be seen as a positive for the industry as there will be a larger pool of candidates with an advisory skill set who can do more than a statutory caseload. Many insolvency professionals tend to specialise in either Personal or Corporate insolvency but with more specialist duties being required for restructuring procedures, this is likely to change.