The return of a refreshed boomer
In such a tight and busy candidate market, tax departments are now relying heavily on consultants, independent contractors, flex/adjusted hours, interim staff, and legacy/last run training by long-time tax leaders. Some companies are even offering part-time to retain staff.
Add in covid, inflation, and new budget constraints, and we find boomers in number one and two tax seats are burned-out. An estimated one-quarter of number two tax leads were promoted or resigned in 2021. One-fifth of number one roles retired in 2021. With 48% of tax leaders being boomers and such a small population of Gen X's in the tax profession and an even smaller number of young boomers, the pool of tax leaders trained and ready for leadership roles is small. Because the pool of mid-level tax professionals is shallow, HR and tax departments need to pay close attention to their top 10-20% players and be ready to train and up-skill your current team. Additionally, to attract and retain this talent pool, you need to be at the market rate for compensation, offer flexible work schedules (hybrid or remote), and have a comprehensive and responsive training plan. Get aligned with your tax team's needs and ensure HR anticipates what your top staff needs to be happily retained.
Here's our shortlist of tips to make your tax team complete and happy with these hiring and retention tips:
Development and target underrepresented talent pools. Embrace boomer's knowledge and hire them to train rising leaders.
Make damn sure you are providing quarterly professional development for under-experienced leaders, investing in tax automation, accelerating promotions, and see that low cost of living locations still competes with the high cost of living compensations packages because remote work is leveling the playing field.
Seek candidates beyond the Big 4 like Historically Black Universities(HBUCs), IRS, state revenue departments, and the Big 8.
Be able to answer the candidate's question, "If you were in my position, what would make you want to work here?" Know your competition and answer why your tax team is unique and what is special about the company you work for (think ESG). Is your tax team diverse in every sense of the word? If not, this will be hard to attract the upcoming generation of talent.
Be clear and follow through on succession planning (accelerate it if possible).
Is your team overworked? DO SOMETHING about it...give it to a consultant and let your team work on what they want to as much as you can allow for it.
Make hybrid work environments the foreseeable standard (most companies are 3 days in the office and 2 remote).