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Bosses burying their heads in sand about career development

Partners in accountancy firms and in-house financial departments must put career development as a top priority or face losing valuable staff imminently, warns Max Williamson, a Director at 

A research study by conducted amongst more than 1700 accountants has revealed that 40% are already looking for another job, with 18% admitting they will be looking for one within 6 months and a further 13% between 6-12 months. 

The research entitled & lsquo;Should I stay or should I go?’ revealed that eight in ten  of the accountants do not believe their  company is not doing enough to help with career development, with four in ten admitting that career development is low on the company’s priorities.   Yet there seems to be no change from last year’s study & lsquo;On the Road to Recovery’ - 77% of accountants believed their bosses were failing to encourage and nurture employees.

30% of accountants wanting to leave their job immediately are now setting their sights to jobs abroad, believing that that there is better career progression than at home. Although 85% of all respondents would definitely consider moving abroad and learning a new language if required.  Most sought after regions are Western Europe (22%), the Middle East (16%) and Australia and New Zealand (14%).

Max Williamson, adds:

“2011 has seen a clear improvement in the audit job market, with the financial services sector and the Big 4 driving demand. Companies cannot keep ignoring the issue of career development.  They need to make greater efforts if they wish to retain their top performers.”  

“There is still a chance though – nearly half the respondents of this year’s research said a pay rise, promotion and better benefits could make them stay, with a further quarter wanting the option to relocate internationally within the firm.

“However, it should also be noted that job seekers must also avoid complacency. Due to the lack of opportunities over the last 2 years, these roles are receiving many applications and competition remains high.”

 Other highlights of the research include:

Size does matter with nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) wanting to work for a Big 4 firm rather than a small firm

Respondents are divided over whether the accountancy/audit industry is doing enough to attract graduates. Just under half  (48%) do not believe it is and feel that better pay would be one of the top draws, along with changing the perception that accountancy is a boring profession

Recruitment agencies need to make some changes: 40% felt that recruitment agencies need to send more relevant jobs and 18% want to be given more pre-interview advice and 14 % want to be contacted more

More than a third (35%) believe that networking sites and online recruitment will replacing traditional agencies with more than half (52%) believing that more and more people will opt for the online route

41%  believe they will stay in the profession for the rest of their career, with a further 20% staying for 5-10 years.


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