The market for internal audit jobs in the UK is both buoyant and competitive, with particular demand notable within the areas of banking and financial services as the onslaught of regulations continues to drive trends in finance. The ongoing shortage of relevant skills is a definite factor in determining the types of candidates companies are attracted to, with those professionals exhibiting transferable skill sets high on the list of hiring acquisitions.
A combination of technical proficiency and effective interfacing skills are seeing internal audit professionals offered salary increases upwards of 20%, with the potential for solid career growth and progression as businesses compete via lucrative counter offers to acquire candidates with the right blend of expertise. Some companies have taken to running in-house training to combat the skills shortage and simply develop their own internal auditors, while the Big Four have put stricter strategies in place to prevent employees abandoning ship in favour of the commercial sector once their training is complete.
As far as location is concerned, London should not be the only port of call as the growth of regional shared service centres serves as adequate enticement to those looking for internal audit opportunities in line with a lower cost of living. A trend that has continued from 2015 sees a number of financial services organisations, banks and the Big Four onshore various arms of their operations to sites across the South West of England and the Home Counties in a bid to reduce costs. What is interesting to note for those professionals contemplating relocation in the face of rising property prices in the capital as well as living costs, is that the salary gap is steadily closing between comparative roles in London and regional hubs making a move of this kind far more attractive financially.
Internal auditors in the UK are expected to offer a predominantly advisory and assurance service through their assessment of potential risks that could affect the organisation, conducting operational audit reviews and project assurance. Knowledge of Solvency II is a must for those individuals aspiring to move into the insurance sector and the ability to establish effective relationships with key stakeholders is an asset required universally for those applying for internal audit jobs.
More than that, those in the internal audit function need to be able to apply their specialist knowledge within the practical and commercial context of the business they’re auditing. Giving due consideration to a company’s dynamics is key to sufficient risk identification and assessment. Auditors must also know when to collaborate with relevant experts in their investigations, while maintaining autonomy of the audit, and above all, excellent communication is a key skill requirement for internal audit.
Language skills as ever pit certain candidates above their peers, particularly with regards internal audit opportunities at multinationals. French and Spanish-speaking internal auditors from the EU offer less expensive alternatives to companies in need of those specific linguistic abilities. Mandarin-speakers are also in some demand as the influence of the Chinese economy gathers momentum.
Superseding availability in the retail, manufacturing and utilities sector, the financial services industry has certainly proven itself the front-runner for internal audit jobs in the UK as regulatory pressure plants the need for strong governance and the establishment of an effectively risk averse framework.