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Work-life balance of most importance for one in ten accountants

WORK-LIFE BALANCE is the most important concern for 14% of accountants when considering which firm to work for, according to research.

A survey from global recruitment firm Hydrogen found salary was the top priority for 31% choosing a job, while one in five said career progression was the most important factor. Work-life balance was named as the third most-pressing aspect of a new job.

The findings reflect “a growing trend for qualified accountant candidates seeking more flexible working hours and conditions”, the recruiter said.

While female accountants make up around 44% of the profession, only 14.8% of Big Four partners are women. This varied between 3% and 27% in other firms, the study found.

Almost all of the 150 respondents (97%) said they would consider an advisory position. However, just 24% currently held advisory roles. More than half (57%) said they would consider a move into management consulting, while just 13% were currently employed in that career.

Conversely, 58% held external audit only roles, but only 33% said they would move jobs within the specialism.

Hydrogen Group CEO Tim Smeaton said there was a “real danger” of skill shortages as a result of the number of graduate intakes for accountancy training falling “dramatically”.

He said: “Employers must be more flexible in their employment practices to ensure that candidates are not lost to other careers.

“It is striking, for instance, that a large number of qualified women accountants do not stay on in the profession to become partners. Greater flexibility over working practices would help reverse this trend.”

Today saw the introduction of new flexible working legislation that allows all employees to request alternative hours. Businesses can only reject the request on the basis of eight specific criteria.

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