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Accounting ads rise fastest with jobless at record low

Appointments

Unemployment at 3.5 per cent coincides with moves to find alternative solutions to the tax skills shortage.

By Philip King4 minute read

Adverts for accounting jobs led the pack in June with a 4 per cent increase on the SEEK website compared with May just as the latest labour force figures put unemployment at a half-century low of 3.5 per cent.

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The jobless result, which fell 0.4 percentage points, was highlighted by SEEK application data showing an overall decline of 4.6 per cent in applications per ad.

CPA Australia said the jobless figure simply underlined what staff seekers in the accounting profession already knew: it was hard to find workers with the right skills.

“The national skills shortage is affecting companies across a range of industries, including the finance and accounting sector,” said CPA Australia’s general manager of media, Dr Jane Rennie.

“We encourage the federal government to help relieve the pressure on employers and ensure Australia has the skills it needs to thrive.”

CreditorWatch said the employment figure, the lowest since 1974, was good news for employees but would increase economic headwinds.

“What this means is that higher inflation will be with us for some time yet, and it will put upward pressure on interest rates for the foreseeable future,” chief economist Anneke Thompson said.

“The very high levels of employment reflect businesses’ capacity utilisation levels, which according to NAB are at 84.8 per cent. It is likely we won’t see any negative movement in unemployment until capacity utilisation starts to decline.”

With underemployment rising to 6.1 per cent, CPA Australia said the talent drought in accounting needed a range of solutions and skilled migration only part of the answer.

It said older workers needed to be encouraged back into employment by dismantling discrimination and other barriers.

“Tapping into this rich resource of skills and knowledge is a way we can chip away at the skills gap without solely relying on migration,” Dr Rennie said.

“The government should consider encouraging more senior Australians back into the workforce by offering free or highly subsidised training in industries with the greatest shortages.”

Dr Rennie said CPA Australia had also been working on a program to identify qualified or trained migrants already in Australia whose abilities went unrecognised.

“An initiative now underway is the Skills Assessment Pilots program, funded by the federal government,” she said.

“This scheme allows migrants currently in the country on a range of visas to have a free fast-tracked skills assessment so they can get to work quicker and help with the nation’s economic recovery.”

The accounting body was focused on finding suitable employees for the thousands of practices struggling to fill vacancies and the process could deliver quick results.

“CPA Australia is assessing people for their skills as general accountants, external auditors, management accounts and taxation accountants within 15 business days,” Dr Rennie said.

“These assessments help accounting practices to be more confident hiring people without recognised qualifications or skills in Australia but who nonetheless can do the job.

“This program is not a silver bullet but it’s one way to get the most out of the talented people we have in Australia.”

She said applications for assessment under the program were already being accepted from people who had been in Australia on permanent family, partner, humanitarian or refugee visas granted since 1 January 2016.

Accounting ads rise fastest with jobless at record low
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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

You can email Philip on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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