Switching jobs pays

Accountants are enjoying a late 1980s-style boom in salaries – butanother wave of wages boom echoing that of the late 1980s, with pay increases of almost 10%. only if they move jobs, according to the latest Robert Half International salary survey.

Qualified accountants are cashing in with pay increases of almost 10% if they switch employers, but only 3.6% if they remain loyal to their boss. Professional practice saw the biggest sector increase, with an average rise of 4.9%, while staff in London recorded a 4.1% increase.

But even though accountants are earning more – two years’ PQE in London can expect to take home up to #40,000 – many are not taking the time off to enjoy their reward.

A quarter of accountants failed to take their full holiday entitlement last year, with 37% working more than the European Union’s Social Chapter recommendation of 48 hours a week; 70% claimed to take work home at least once a week and 43% worked weekends.

Jeff Grout, Robert Half’s UK managing director, said many accountants had lost touch with salary reality. ‘Employers are looking for relevant experience, technical ability and communication skills,’ he said.

‘They are finding that candidates are often not fulfilling expectations in these three key areas. In addition, many are requesting unrealistic salaries which employers are unable to meet.

‘A lack of quality candidates coupled with high salary expectations is making the recruitment process for accountants increasingly problematic.’

For the third year running CIMA topped Robert Half’s employer poll of ‘preferred qualification’. Just under half those surveyed expressed a preference, with 53% opting for CIMA, 29% for chartered accountants, 16% ACCA and just 2% CIPFA.

CIMA, the report says, was endorsed for its commercial focus, relevance to industry and practicality, while the chartered accountancy qualification was regarded as more technical, disciplined and intellectually superior.

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