Indirect Tax, 2014 in Review

Indirect Tax, 2014 in Review

Contributed by Jessica Wilson on 16 January 2015
2014 saw a continued resurgence in recruitment activity in the Indirect Tax market, across both in-house and professional services. Sustained demand has led to a talent short market, particularly at more junior grades where competition to secure specialised skill sets is high. Where we saw a significant number of newly created roles in 2013, this year both practice firms and corporates alike have been more limited in their ambitions by this competitive candidate market. Going into 2015 Indirect Tax will remain high on the recruitment agenda, driven by both short and long term developments including continued global VAT rate increases, EU Indirect Tax reforms, greater scrutiny and more contentious action by tax authorities, and the impact of Big Data on systems.


The profession has been a busy area for Indirect Tax recruitment throughout the top 25 firms, particularly across Assistant Manager and Manager grades. Indirect Tax practices have emerged as stand out performers for the majority of firms, and consequentially recruitment budgets for 2015 have increased in this space. Many practices have diversified their offerings to include process change, technology and specialist taxes. As such there are ripe opportunities for motivated candidates, particularly those looking to return to the profession from a stint in-house. Law firms and specialist boutiques, particularly tax technology consultancies, have also continued to grow as clients seek alternatives to the traditional accountancy firm offering.

Commerce & Industry

The Commerce & Industry space was consistently busy throughout 2014, driven in large part by a greater emphasis on cash management and risk mitigation in an ever changing regulatory environment. As a result much of the recruitment has been driven by first-time VAT hires as well as team expansions. Industries with particularly high activity have included Oil & Gas, Commodities and Property. With a large number of the listed businesses still without a dedicated internal VAT resource, we anticipate demand in all sectors as companies look to enhance their Indirect Tax capability over the next few years. Salaries should also continue to rise, particularly in locations outside London, where competition for specialist Indirect Tax skills is high.

Financial Services

Recruitment across Financial Services remained fairly active throughout 2014 as businesses looked to right-size and re-skill their tax functions. This has meant despite some significant redundancies, role creation at more junior grades has remained high. 2014 also saw the return of senior opportunities at the "Head of" level with a number of businesses changing their local and regional Indirect Tax leads. Insurance has been somewhat quieter, particularly when compared to the activity experienced in 2013, although recent M&A activity in this space should give rise to a substantially busier 2015.

If you are interested in having a confidential discussion about your career the Indirect Tax market, please contact Ben Shepherd.