It is providing incentives, including a National Insurance (NI) holiday scheme worth £4,000, to tempt both qualified and non-qualified accountants across the water to fill the “huge number of current vacancies” the island has on offer.
“Meeting the skills needs of our economy is vital in order for our businesses to grow and achieve their ambitions,” said IoM enterprise minister Laurence Skelly.
“The skills offered by qualified accountants are utilised across a wide range of the Isle of Man’s business sectors and support a huge number of organisations.”
According to KPMG IoM partner Simon Nicholas, who has lived on the island for the past 10 years, there are vacancies in many areas of the economy. “There is a real shortage of accountants on the island of all levels and recruitment further afield is an absolute necessity.”
He said the problem had been increasing over the past few years but a recent government survey of skills shortages placed accountants top of the list for the first time. “It always used to be IT professionals and software experts – as well as financial services, we have a lot of gaming companies, and software and e-businesses here. But all these businesses are expanding and they all need to recruit accountants.”
It was not exaggerating to describe the size of the vacancy problem as being in the hundreds, he stressed, and he hoped the campaign would raise awareness in the UK and Ireland and boost the numbers of job applications from accountants there.
“This initiative will allow us to attract new talent to the island to contribute to the economy and, in turn, the success of many businesses.”
According to the Manx government, under the NI holiday scheme, an individual earning a £30,000 salary will take home £27,450 in their first year of living on the island – £3,650 more than their UK counterparts who would get to keep £23,800.
It adds that average salaries for full-time employees are already more than 14% higher in the IoM than the UK.
The campaign is also promoting the island’s other attractions, including work-life balance, outdoor activities and a strong sense of community. In the 2019 HSBC Expat Survey, the IoM was ranked the best place to live in the British Isles and the 12th best place in the world, ahead of Ireland (14th), Jersey (19th), Guernsey (25th) and the UK (27th).
Andrew Stewart, head of policy & strategy at Locate Isle of Man, says that the accountancy recruitment drive is part of a wider strategy to attract professionals to relocate to the island and support the growth of the island’s diverse economy.
“In the past six months, we have identified the need for accountants and hence launched a targeted campaign to bring over talent who might be looking for exciting new opportunities, starting with the UK and Ireland.
“The island’s economy, especially the financial services and digital sectors, is enjoying strong growth and we want to support the industry and keep up this pace.”