Recently, The Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML) 2017 Staff Retention Report found that accountants, part of the business and professional services industry, had an attrition rate of 13.4 per cent, higher than the average of 9.5 per cent across all industries and topped only by the IT industry at 13.9 per cent.
The top reasons listed for voluntary resignation included leaving to seek new challenges (79 per cent), limited career advancement (58 per cent), and insufficient financial reward (46 per cent).
Recruitment firm Hays regional director David Cawley believes top-end accounting firms can no longer afford to fall back on their brand to maintain hires, and need to instead pitch their worth to prospective candidates.
“I think there are organisations out there that rely too heavily on their brands and the perceptions that you have to be able to get into one of those organisations and if you didn't work for one of those organisations then you were working for a less than first rate organisation,” Mr Cawley said.
“It's really about holding open conversations. I think organisations have to articulate themselves better and be more open to talk about good mentorship opportunities, and really explain career paths.”
While the attrition rate figures struck Mr Cawley as “particularly high”, he believes it may be a result of the changing attitudes towards the gig economy, a trend he predicted this time last year.
“One of the key things that we see is how temporary and contract employment has become a lot more the norm,” said Mr Cawley.
“It's no longer looked down as a second class career, so organisations and candidates in tandem are finding that they feel more comfortable employing people or working on a contract basis.
“So you then get a whole different way in which organisations have to pitch themselves and display how they can help somebody's career because that individual is not necessarily going to look for a career for life with those companies.”
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.