Salary survey: war for talent

One of the most obvious concerns for our sector is the war for talent that
continues to dominate boardroom discussion in the UK.

And the war is clearly not letting up – according to the survey an alarming
69% of respondents believe newly qualified accounting and finance graduates are
not equipped with the necessary skills required to start work. The most common
skill insufficiencies lie in the candidate’s limited knowledge of the company’s
industry (26%) and lack of communication skills (22%).

These results are a clear indication that the role of the finance
professional has changed. Accountants and finance professionals are no longer
seen as mere analysts of data but rather they now have an important role in
giving strategic advice. Communications skills are becoming one of the most
important attributes of today’s finance professional.

While the majority of respondents think employers should look internally
before recruiting from overseas, interestingly 21% believe their employers are
looking to hire overseas workers as a way to satisfy the skills gap and enhance
internal capabilities.

While this issue is not exclusive to our industry, it’s not going away. As
the pace of change continues, we must constantly look to update our approach to
training and development to reflect the industry’s diverse requirements.

After all, our survey overwhelmingly shows that finance professionals
nominate career development as the number one factor in determining job
satisfaction. When asked about what makes a satisfying work environment, 36% of
accountants chose career development opportunities, ahead of the relationship
with their boss (28%), salary (19%) and benefits package (11%).

Most workers want to find a balance between career progression, salary,
benefits and health and wellbeing. Our experience says that at least three of
these elements need to be right if workers are to be satisfied with their
working environment.

Our survey is a biannual assessment of the mood and prospects of over 3,100
accountants, and the results clearly reflect the changing landscape of the
industry, providing a useful insight into what workers really want. We would
urge employers to listen to their staff and realise the important role they have
to play in their staff’s development.

David Jones is managing director of Robert Half Finance &

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