Accountants unhappy about lack of career development, survey reveals

ALMOST TWO THIRDS of UK accountants are set to actively pursue their next job opportunity within the next six-to-12 months, new research reveals.

Many of those quizzed by said they feel despondent that their bosses will not make any changes to retain staff – with six in ten accountants complaining that career development was not a company priority.

Some 57% said their company had failed to do anything to retain their staff over the last year, while a fifth (20%) could not comment since they had only recently joined their company.

Over half (52%) confessed to have been unsuccessful in gaining a promotion – because their ‘firm does not actively promote staff’ or ‘it takes a long time to get to next level and I need to bide my time’ and ‘my firm does not have the budget to pay for an increase in salary’.

More than a third (36%) said they were already looking for their next role while 80% would consider moving abroad for their next position with North America coming tops, followed by Australasia and Western Europe.

Just under half (47%) said a “pay rise or promotion” might make them stay in their current job, while 12% are looking for a “better work-life balance”. Yet a fifth (20%) confessed that their mind was already made up and they plan to leave as soon as possible.

When asked what support their company could provide, many accountants are calling for clear career development plans to be put in place, better training, mentoring and funding for professional qualifications.

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  • John

    I have believed for many years that the numbers of people joining our profession has been far too great, making career progression and opportunities, along with financial reward, very difficult. The constant desire for the professional bodies to run their organisations as businesses, and chase member numbers is foolish, and ultimately ‘bad’ for those in the profession. I employ accountants, but KNOW that today’s newly qualifieds are not of the standard of my day. I KNOW that the route to qualification is now much too easy. No doubt the professional bodies (chasing member numbers) will dispute this. But you can’t beat what you actually see for yourself. This problem is only going to become worse.

    • Toni Hunter

      I wish I didn’t agree with you John. As training partner in my firm, I see plenty of good students but very few client managers and even less with partnership potential. The article suggests that this is due to lack of career development plans but I think this is totally unfair on employers. What happened to the ethic of creating your own career path and taking responsibility for your personal development as well as technical development? I am guessing this is not isolated to our industry John, but a cultural shift in young people’s expectations that a good life will be served up to them on a plate.