Salary and compensation remains the key driver of attraction for accounting talent, but employers would be wise to consider the full package. Opportunities for external training and career development are considered more important than in other industries and the desire for work-life balance has never been greater.
Working long hours is often considered ‘business as usual’ in the accounting industry and rarely comes with the benefits of overtime payments or time-in-lieu. This may be why compensation, in addition to base salary, is so appealing to accountants. Salary and compensation was ranked the top driver, with 18.7% of respondents ranking it as the most important factor when considering a new accounting role.
However, our research shows there’s more accountants consider than money when it comes to choosing an employer. The desire for work-life balance proved to be a greater motivation today than five years ago, rising from third to second place with 12.6% of the vote. The increase of cloud-based accounting means workers are no longer tethered to an office and this may be driving the desire for flexible conditions, such as working from home, which is significantly more desirable among accounting candidates.
"People are most successful when they have the everyday flexibility they need to meet the demands of their professional life and accomplish the things they identify as priorities outside of their career. We are a people business, so our flexible working policy is one of the ways we're enabling our people to be at their best." – Sue Horlin, Human Capital Leader, PwC
Training and career development opportunities are the number three driver of attraction for accountants (10.9%). While in-house training programs, on-the-job coaching and mentoring are considered highly attractive, the desire for external training was regarded as a ‘must have’ by one in four respondents. This may be due to requirements for industry certification and the need to keep up with changes to financial reporting and accounting standards.
The past five years has seen other changes when it comes to drivers of attraction in this industry. Job location, which may be considered an enabler of work-life balance, moved from sixth to fourth place on the list of desirability, while job security moved from fourth to fifth place. Quality of management dropped from fifth to sixth place and colleagues and co-workers came in at ninth place compared to tenth in 2012.
As work-life balance moves up the ranks as a key driver of attraction for accountants, employers may need to rethink their approach to flexibility. While career development and training is also highly valued among accounting professionals, the majority are still looking at the bottom line.
The lure of additional superannuation is less likely to capture accounting talent. Data shows they are significantly less likely to be delighted by an extra boost to their super or to rank it as a ‘must have’.
About this research: The data points referred to on this page are drawn from the SEEK Laws of Attraction survey. For more information about the SEEK Laws of Attraction survey and the terms and conditions governing the use of this data, click here.