Quarterly Tax Update: Recruitment Trends Q3

Eleanor Turner, Rutherford Cross’ Tax Specialist, briefly reviews the recruitment trends of the Scottish market last quarter.

Professional Services

In general, the Professional Services market remained candidate-short and Tax did not differ. Candidates that were actively looking quickly received multiple offers and subsequent counter-offers which led to upward pressure on salaries and occasionally the requirement of firms making offers outwith banding. In particular, this can be seen at the junior and senior ends of the market, with several firms investing heavily at these levels.

There was more demand for Corporate Tax candidates in the West and North of Scotland, while the highest demand in the East was for Personal Tax candidates. Generally, demand for Corporate Tax professionals decreased over the previous quarter, with key areas of growth seen in the Private Client, VAT and R&D tax spaces. Continuing the trend from Q2, firms were most commonly looking for those at Assistant Manager to Senior Manager levels as a result of struggling to recruit and retain staff at this level.

While in the past, a better work-life balance has been a key factor in candidates looking to move, it is no longer a driver, as most firms now offer flexible working as standard. The main reasons for candidates looking elsewhere at a mid/senior level is a desire to be part of a firm where they can see clear career progression and at a junior level, access to clients and advisory work.


Continuing Q2s trend, there has been an increase in the number of in-house Tax roles, primarily in and around Glasgow. This is likely as a result of businesses looking to cut costs by reducing external advisor usage and as a result of continued Brexit planning and the rollout of Making Tax Digital. There has also been an increase in M&A/transaction tax work, demonstrating the strong and acquisitive position of several Scottish businesses over the last quarter.

There is still strong competition for in-house tax positions, as Managers and Senior Managers from Professional Services looking to make a move into industry compete with tax professionals with in-house experience. Demand has primarily been for tax all-rounders, with companies looking for candidates primarily from a corporate tax background with experience in VAT, transfer pricing and employment and international tax experience.


Eleanor is Rutherford Cross’ Tax Specialist and recruits high-calibre tax professionals across Scotland, at all levels. If you are looking to recruit or to find a new position please call 07799 462326 or email [email protected]