14% of newly qualified accountants put work life balance above salary finds Hydrogen survey
The survey of more than 150 accountants showed that while nearly a third, or 31%, put salary as their top priority and 20% rated career progression, work life balance came in third. The findings reflect a growing trend found by Hydrogen Group among its qualified accountant candidates who are seeking more flexible working hours and conditions.
Other findings in the survey showed that breadth of opportunity was important to keeping candidates and highlighted potential skill shortages. It found:
· An estimated 58% of respondents specialised in external audit only, but only 33% would consider moving for an external audit opportunity
· Nearly all those surveyed, 97%, would consider an advisory position, while only a quarter (24%) currently had an advisory role
· More than half, 57%, would consider an opportunity in management consulting, compared with the 13% that are already employed in that career
In addition, the survey highlighted the perceived bias against progression for women in the profession. According to research, while women make up 44 per cent of the total number of accountants, only 14.8% of partners in the Big 4 are women. Outside the Big 4 this proportion ranged from 3% to 27%.
Tim Smeaton, Hydrogen Group CEO, commented, “The number of graduate intakes for accountancy training has fallen dramatically in the financial recession leading to a real danger of skill shortages as economies recover globally. Our survey shows that employers must be more flexible in their employment practices to ensure that candidates are not lost to other careers. It is striking, for instance, that a large number of qualified women accountants do not stay on in the profession to become partners. Greater flexibility over working practices would help reverse this trend.”
The survey questioned 150 newly qualified accountants with up to three years post qualification experience.