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Accounting salaries that have boomed since COVID

Accounting salaries that have boomed since COVID


Australia’s job market is, in a phrase, ‘going gangbusters’. Huge demand for workers and record numbers of job vacancies have created the great job boom.

With all this increased demand, we’re seeing salaries on the rise in several industries – including Accounting. According to SEEK salary data, average salaries for Payroll and Accounts Officer roles have seen an 11% rise, while the average Systems Analyst salary in the industry is up 10%.

But what does this mean for you? Whether you’re thinking about switching jobs, or looking to get more out of your current role, now could be the right to earn more.

Booming salaries in Accounting

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SEEK, based on average annual full time and annualised hourly salaries (excluding contract roles) for job ads listed on SEEK from Nov21-Feb22 compared to Nov19-Feb20.

What’s driving salary growth?

According to Scott Allen, Divisional Manager of Sydney boutique recruiter SustainAbility Consulting, the last two and half years have been “an interesting ride” for the Accounting job market.

The primary cause: “A lack of international talent coming into Australia is driving a staffing shortage,” Allen says.

“With the lack of talent coming in, we’re just not getting the volume of candidates that we were pre-COVID. That then is forcing businesses to attempt to make [vacant] roles more attractive, and the biggest, and most obvious, incentive is to increase salaries.”

This trend is coupled with a renewed appetite for higher salaries among job seekers.

Over the last few months, Allen has seen pandemic-era employment priorities – like job security and working from home – shift towards higher salaries.

“Candidates are more willing to take slight risks and go out to find new roles,” he says. “Combine that with the demand for talent, and it’s easy to see why salaries are moving back into that number one position for candidates.”

In fact, according to SEEK research, 40% of people now look at salary and compensation as more important to them than prior to the pandemic.

And, as average accounting salaries are growing – from Assistant Managers (12%) to Support Officers (7%) – it’s clear that job seekers are getting more of what they want.

Taking advantage of the moment

Allen believes that now is a great time for people to take that next step in their career. This might mean changing jobs, moving into a new position or simply negotiating a higher salary.

Before talking to another company, however, Allen suggests talking with your current employer first – particularly when a salary increase is your main motivation.

“Have that conversation with [your employer], let them know how you feel,” he says. “That might actually solve your issue. If your employer is not willing to pay you more, then maybe that’s the right time to start looking.”

Allen says he’s seen lots of cases where candidates go through rigorous hiring processes only to then be offered a higher salary from their existing employer, creating unnecessary burden along the way.

“Go in talking about the value that you bring to the business,” he says, “why you feel you deserve the pay rise and what [your employer] is going to get for that rise.”

To prepare for a pay rise conversation, read up on your company’s pay rise policies and processes to work out how you can set up a meeting. Then do your research to find out what people in comparable roles are being paid. It’s also important to identify some tangible achievements you can use to provide evidence of the value you bring to a role, such as improvements to processes or certain results.

Where things are heading

Although pandemic restrictions are beginning to wind back – and skilled migration is returning – Allen believes that there will still be opportunities for Accounting job seekers in the immediate future.

“Until we start to get a large number of working holiday candidates back, that is going to limit things,” he says.

“I think we’re still in for another couple of years of really good opportunity for candidates to go out there and hunt down new and exciting roles, new businesses, new industries and higher pay.”

With Accounting salaries on the rise, now might just be the right time to explore your options and see where Australia’s Great Job Boom could take you.

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Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published May 2022.

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