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Accounting salaries stall despite industry growth

Accountancy professionals are “taking matters into their own hands” as business activity and permanent headcounts are rising, but aren’t translating into salary increases for accountants.

Professional Development Katarina Taurian 24 August 2016
— 1 minute read

Speaking to AccountantsDaily, David Cawley, regional director at Hays, said employers across the board are remaining cost-conscious, including accountancy firms and commercial organisations that employ accountants.


“So while business activity and permanent headcounts are rising, they aren’t translating into salary increases for accountants: two thirds – 66 per cent – of employers will increase salaries by less than 3 per cent when they next review, according to the Hays Salary Guide,” Mr Cawley said.

“With employers for the most part unwilling to loosen the salary purse strings, accountancy professionals are taking matters into their own hands. For example, they’re asking for pay reviews and looking at their options in the job market.

“While it can be tempting to tell a potential new employer you earn slightly more than you do, it’s very risky. Yes, employers are cost-conscious, but don’t be tempted to add a few thousand dollars to your current salary in an attempt to get a strong increase when changing jobs.

“You will get caught out. As recruiters, we know what the typical market rates are for the roles we recruit and if you price yourself above that you’ll be asked a lot of questions to determine why. If it doesn’t add up your credibility comes into question.”

Mr Cawley noted there are other, more effective options for accountants who are looking to make headway with their salary negotiations.

“For example, you could look for a role that offers a strong career development pathway, learning and development opportunities, mentoring or exciting new challenges,” Mr Cawley said.

“While you are unlikely to receive a big salary increase in the current market, a job that offers such opportunities will benefit your career advancement, and that can have a far greater impact long-term than a few thousand dollars right now.”

Accounting salaries stall despite industry growth
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