The report, which tracks the availability of skilled labour in the Australian market, shows a surplus of 1,600 accountants, auditors and company secretaries for the March quarter 2014, up from 800 in June 2013.
Paul Barbaro, executive general manager of Lloyd Morgan, a division of the Clarius Group of recruitment companies, blamed a weak economy for the slip in demand.
“Not only has activity in the economy been soft, but battles among retailers for customers and lower international prices for our exports, particularly resources, have seen weak growth in prices too,” he said.
“Simply put, there’s just a lack of demand. Companies are reluctant to increase headcount until they see material improvements in economic activity."
According to Mr Barbaro, mid-market professionals earning between $80,000 and $120,000 were the hardest hit.
In more encouraging news, however, the report predicts an incremental increase in demand for the accounting sector for the remainder of 2014, specifically for auditors required for the reporting season.
In the resources sector, as the investment phase has weakened, many companies have reduced their accounting headcount, according to the report. However as new mines come online, increased demand is expected in WA alongside a slow but steady increase in other states as Australia returns to better trading conditions.
Mr Barbaro said only core functions are likely to be replaced this year.
Financial planners remain in short supply, and professionals with a broader wealth management background, including superannuation specialists, are being sought. With the flagged change to the pension age, from 65 to 70 years, there will be an even greater demand for these professionals, Mr Barbaro said.
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