‘Obvious pay gulf’ in Sydney accountants’ salaries
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‘Obvious pay gulf’ in Sydney accountants’ salaries

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New research has revealed both surprising and concerning patterns in the salaries of Sydney-based accountants, particularly in the commercial accounting sector.

Accounting recruitment firm Richard Lloyd this week released the results of a survey of 2,000 Sydney-based accountants.

Consistent with data from the ATO, results indicate an “obvious pay gulf” between women and men in the commercial accounting sector.

In mid-level management roles, women are paid approximately 13 per cent less than their male peers. At more senior levels, where only 27 per cent of respondents were women, the gap is 14 per cent.

Salaries were comparable at the support services level, however only 33 per cent of respondents were men.

“Even when comparing like-for-like men and women, with the same qualifications, tenure and work hours the salary gap between the two remained. There is no apparent reason for this gap, it is most likely a case of unconscious bias in action,” said Geoff Balmer, director at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment.

Contrary to common belief, these results show the CBD is not the highest paying region in Sydney. In fact, on average, it came in second behind the Northern Beaches, which out-pays the CBD by nearly $10,000 per annum.

“Our experience tells us this is a result of professionals on the Northern Beaches having longer tenures due to wanting to live and work in the same beachside location, plus a shortage of alternative job opportunities,” Mr Balmer said.

“As far as salary goes, suburban locations like the Hills District or Eastern Suburbs might be more attractive destinations for those at the outset of their careers. In order to compete for talent with inner city organisations, we’re seeing companies in these areas paying higher rates than the CBD for accounting support professionals,” he said.

In spite of these figures, the research found the CBD is still a popular place for accounting support professionals to start their careers.

Approximately 67.64 per cent of CBD respondents identified themselves as Millennials, with 11.59 per cent of those being newcomers to the accounting profession — which was higher than any other region.

Sydney, and eastern seaboard states, remain the highest areas of demand for accounting services, Hays accountancy and finance regional director David Cawley told Accountants Daily.

The Victorian market has followed in NSW’s footsteps in becoming more buoyant in 2017, and Queensland is also showing signs of “certainty” for accounting professionals as its economy stabilises.

“There’s this really nice mix of big eastern seaboard states driving demand for talent across the board, which is yet again positioning candidates as the driving force,” said Mr Cawley.

Consistently across Australia, accountants who are in their first or second move from a big four firm are most in demand, and are in a stronger position to negotiate their salaries compared to their peers.

“The reason they are in high demand is they have come out of really well recognised institutions, with rigour and training around quality, process and procedure,” said Mr Cawley.

In general, although local conditions will vary, Mr Cawley said he doesn’t believe anything is going to “railroad” the progress of accounting salaries in the short to mid term, anticipating growth of three to six per cent.

‘Obvious pay gulf’ in Sydney accountants’ salaries
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