Job application process for accountants too complex

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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

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Long and complicated application process means that jobs in accounting and finance are some of the hardest to apply for

Accounting and finance firms were ranked worst for offering a poor candidate experience with a ranking of 109.7 out of 200. Legal was also cited as another sector where it was hard to apply for jobs in law firms, with a rating of 115.1, closely followed by architecture.

The ranking comes as the accountancy sector faces a severe shortage of experienced candidates while the number of trainees at the largest accounting firms has dropped in the last year, raising concerns about the future candidate pipeline.

There is a significant gap across sectors between candidate experiences when applying for new jobs, which is preventing some applicants from completing the process, found the Access Group’s Recruitment and Resourcing Index.

The index was compiled using different metrics – including user-experience of careers pages, the number of questions on an application form, and whether candidates can apply via LinkedIn or need to send a covering letter. The higher the score, the better the candidate experience.

Topping the index as the industry most likely to struggle to fill positions due to arduous recruitment processes was accounting and finance, followed by automotive and construction.

A shortage of highly qualified candidates is affecting the majority of businesses. A British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO) found that 80% of UK businesses have reported difficulties in recruiting – down just 2% from the ‘highest level of recruitment difficulties on record’ last year.

When it comes to the best candidate experiences, consumer-centric industries like retail and ecommerce, and homeware and interiors are top of the index. Bookstore Waterstones had the best-performing website, while Hobby Craft, Mamas and Papas and Bargain Booze came out top with the best application processes. Overall, comic book and science fiction retailer Forbidden Planet scored the highest among the retailers with an average index score of 188.1.

Julia Harvie-Liddel, head of recruitment at The Access Group said: ‘In today’s competitive jobs market, organisations cannot afford to risk losing candidates at the final stage because of poor experiences with their website and arduous application forms.

‘The good news is that with a few improvements, employers could see a vast improvement in the number of people who complete their application form.

‘Make sure your careers pages or microsite is performing well from a technical perspective. Like customers, candidates will be put off by sites that are slow to load or don’t display properly on a mobile, so ask your digital team to check its core web vitals (CWV). Just as important is updating your website with the latest roles and engaging content – everything from rewards and benefits to company life.’

She added that in-house recruitment software can also play a valuable role in achieving this.

‘This technology enables firms to create a professional branded website that attracts candidates, engages them at every stage of the journey – keeping them updated on the status of their application and completing checks as efficiently as possible.’

The Access Group, a business management software specialist, analysed 20 industries including manufacturing, legal, healthcare and logistics to find out which ones offered the best candidate experiences, and where there was room for improvement. The lower the index score, the worse the experience.

For information on recruitment, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Can I withdraw a job offer?

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