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Staff retention could hit a low as ambitious accountants eager to climb the career ladder in 2010/2011, warns new research
Bosses in accountancy firms and in-house financial departments need to do far more to retain staff and could see many of their staff leaving over the next six to twelve months, warns Max Williamson, a Director at
A research study by, amongst 606 accountants, reveals that half of the accountants surveyed are actively looking for a new job. Over the next six to twelve months, this figure is set to rise to three quarters of all accountants. Nearly two thirds of respondents (59%) revealed they are networking at least twice a week, a third of these are meeting or making new contacts every day. Nearly half (46%) said their main reason for networking was to get a new job.
Those successful in getting a job over the next few months may be packing both their suitcases as well as the personal contents on their desk. Eight in ten accountants revealed they would move abroad for a job. Western Europe still tops the league as preferred destination but the Middle East comes a close second.
The research, entitled On the Road to Recovery, also reveals that nearly four in ten accountants (38%) felt they missed out on a promotion because of the recession, and are now eager to forge ahead with their career.
Part of the problem may lie with companies failing to encourage and nurture their employees. More than three quarters (77%) admitted that their company could be doing more to help career development, with nearly half saying this could be improved through better training and support. Yet, nearly four in ten accountants (38%) are not hopeful that change is around the corner, admitting that career development is low on the agenda for the company they work for.
Max Williamson, adds:
There are a good number of senior internal auditors and senior audit managers within public practice who are caught in a bottleneck. Under normal circumstances, many would have expected to have been made head of their department or been selected for partnership at some point over the last two years. As the UK and some parts of Europe emerge from the recession, they are keen to make up for lost time. The market is recovering and demand is increasing. Hiring freezes are being lifted and we have even seen the return of the counter offer.
Employers need to be aware that the market is improving. They cant assume that staff are unlikely to leave them simply because there arent enough opportunities to do so. Even if employers are unable to provide a clear view of promotion for their staff, they should consider whether they are doing enough to provide other types of development, through regular mentoring, access to training courses and varying work content through special projects.
Other highlights from the research include:
More than a third of accountants (34%) revealed a good work/life balance tops the reasons for making the move abroad - nearly double for those driven by a better pay packet (18%)
Nearly half (43%) want to work in-house whilst nearly the same number of respondents (39%) wanting to work in practice. Nearly two thirds of those with aspirations to work for accountancy firm were fixed on either working for a Big 4 firm or no-one
Accountants are feeling more confident to ask for a pay-rise. Nearly half (42%) revealed that it is now a better time to ask for a pay-rise than 12 months ago (nearly a quarter have already received one and just over a quarter plan to ask for one in the next few months). A few have been very bold with requests, just short of 5% will be prepared to ask for 50% rise whilst nearly two thirds will be content to ask for 5-10% rise
More than two thirds of accountants (65%) still prefer to network face to face but nearly three quarters (72%) are now using social media outlet Linkedin
Some are planning a complete change nearly a fifth of accountants plan on exiting the profession for good, either setting up their own business or changing career. Still eight in ten accountants plan to stay either in a job for life (42%) or in the profession for five to ten years.
Max Williamson, concludes:
For many accountants, 2011 will be about regaining the momentum that was lost over the last two years. Accountants are becoming more bullish about their career prospects, many are ready for a change and the market has begun to move in their direction.


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