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Over 70% of profession eyeing opportunities elsewhere


A new survey has highlighted the significance of the “Great Resignation” impacting the accounting profession, with over 70 per cent either looking for or thinking about exploring a new job opportunity.

By Emma Musgrave 11 minute read

CPA Australia has just closed off its latest poll that asked: “Has talk of the Great Resignation or wages growth prompted you to consider exploring new job opportunities?”

According to the findings, 33 per cent of respondents are thinking about new job opportunities, while 27 per cent have started looking. Meanwhile, 13 per cent said they were already looking prior to talk of the “Great Resignation”.

On the opposite end, 27 per cent said they plan to stay put.


Commenting off the back of the findings, Dr Jane Rennie, general manager external affairs at CPA Australia said: “We’re not surprised by the direction of the results although the percentage of people considering new opportunities is possibly a bit higher than companies may like to see.

“For many people, COVID triggered a holistic rethink about what matters to them; from where they live, to their relationships and, of course, jobs.

“We’re hearing that levels of fatigue among the profession are high. From an employer’s perspective, there’s no shortage of work around but many are struggling to find enough qualified people to do it.”

Dr Rennie said the results put pressure on accounting firms’ retention strategies.

“When a significant chunk of the workforce is willing to explore other opportunities, it changes the power dynamic. Combine this with a substantial skills shortage of suitably qualified accountants and it seems that job seekers are firmly in the driver’s seat,” she said.

“Any employer who’s not thinking about how to retain existing employees and attract new ones could fall behind.

“Don’t forget about existing talent, even those that seem highly settled. It’s harder and costlier to recruit a new employee than to retain an existing one. Find the carrot that will make your people forego opportunities elsewhere.”

When it comes to attracting new talent, Dr Rennie advised firms to get creative about their “total employment offering”.

There’s a limit to how much most practices can afford to pay. Consider other non-financial incentives such as training and flexible work options, she said.

“Some of the Big Four accounting firms are leading the way on flexible working arrangements. Over time this is likely to create a new high tide mark for the whole profession.

“Employers who aren’t willing to accommodate people’s desire for flexibility may lose good people to those who are.”


Emma Musgrave

Emma Musgrave


Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

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