Developing your Human Capital at Work

Rutherford Cross’ Tax and Treasury specialist, Amy Ferguson shares insights into a McKinsey study – Human Capital at Work: The Value of Experience.

The end of the year seems to always be a time of reflection for people and I would include myself in this generalisation! As the year begins to wind down, I like to take time to reflect on the positive and negative things that have happened throughout the year, and to plan for the next.

2022 has been an interesting year in the Tax and Treasury recruitment market. Many professionals in this space have decided to make a move to a new role for a number of different reasons, and I’ve been privileged to help a number of fantastic candidates do so.  With this in mind, I came across this study published by McKinsey that looks at human capital in the workplace – human capital being the skills, knowledge and experience possessed by an individual in their lifetime).

I was drawn to this study as it found some interesting connections between work experience and human capital. The study looked at a dataset of people throughout the UK, and several other countries in Europe, and their movements in terms of their career. For me, the main message of this study is that moving roles, whether internally or to another organisation, is important; new roles enable individuals to build (and demonstrate) their skills, and this contributes to their human capital.

Interestingly, more than 80% of role moves from their dataset involved individuals moving from one organisation to another for a new role, instead of taking a new role in their current organisation. In terms of the specialist finance market, individuals often have to move to other organisations to take on a new role purely due to the fact they work in small teams, and an internal step up isn’t always available. However, I thought this was an interesting observation about the market in general.

Secondly, the study also found that those who decide to move to new roles that involve significant changes actually receive higher rewards, in terms of both earnings and a stronger and more evolved skillset. It seems that varied work experience, and being brave with your career decisions, adds to the value of human capital.

Throughout this year, it has been obvious to me that candidates feel it is very important to have the opportunity to continuously learn and grow professionally in their roles, and this has been reflected in the findings of this study.

Specialist finance roles are ever evolving, and this year it has been crucial for employers to be able to attract and retain talent by giving individuals the opportunity to make the right career move, recognise their potential and give them the opportunity to grow professionally. A large part of this is understanding potential in people, as well as recognising their current knowledge and skills, and how they can add value to teams and organisations.


If you are considering your options and would like to have a confidential discussion about the market moving into 2023, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]