Should I Stay or Should I Go? Survey

Stay or Go 300x250The 2011 annual survey investigated what influenced audit and accountancy professionals across the world to change jobs and we asked for your views on various elements that lead to the decision to relocate:

  • Is improved training more important than increased salary when looking for a new job?
  • How many audit & accountancy professionals are looking to move abroad for work?
  • What can be done to attract more graduates to the industry?
  • Has the approach of recruiters changed since the economic downturn?

We received a great response to this survey with over 1700 audit and accountancy professionals taking part. A summary of the results is detailed below:

Bosses burying their heads in sand about career development

Partners in accountancy firms and in-house financial departments must move career development to the top of the priority list or face losing valuable staff in the near future, warns Max Williamson, a Director at

More than 1700 accountants have taken part in a research study by entitled ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ which uncovered that 40% are already looking for another job, with 18% stating they will be looking for one within 6 months and a further 13% between 6-12 months.

Of those accountants wanting to leave their jobs immediately, 30% are setting their sights on jobs abroad, believing that career progression will be better than at home. Out of all the respondents, 85% would consider moving abroad for a new job, and would be prepared to learn a new language if the job required it. The most popular areas with job-seekers looking to move away from their home were Western Europe (22%), the Middle East (16%) and Australia and New Zealand (14%).

Career development has emerged as a strong contributing factor to job satisfaction, with eight in ten of the accountants surveyed believing their company is not doing enough to help with career development, and four in ten stating that career development is low on the company’s priorities. The number of respondents who felt their bosses were failing to encourage and nurture employees remained the same as last year’s study, ‘On the Road to Recovery’, with 77% wanting more guidance & support from their superiors.

Max Williamson, adds: “2011 has seen a clear improvement in the audit job market, with the financial services sector and the Big 4 driving demand. Companies cannot keep ignoring the issue of career development. They need to make greater efforts if they wish to retain their top performers.”

“There is still a chance though – nearly half the respondents of this year’s research said a pay rise, promotion and better benefits could make them stay, with a further quarter wanting the option to relocate internationally within the firm.”

“However, it should also be noted that job seekers must also avoid complacency. Due to the lack of opportunities over the last 2 years, these roles are receiving many applications and competition remains high.”

Other observations from the research include: 

  • Bigger is perceived as better with 72% of respondents wanting to work for a Big 4 firm or no firm at all;
  • Just under half (48%) of respondents believe the accountancy/audit industry should be doing more to attract graduates and feel that better pay would make it more attractive, and changing the opinion that accountancy is a boring profession;
  • Recruitment agencies need to change their tactics – 40% want to be sent more relevant jobs and 18%feel they should be given more pre-interview advice, while 14% want to be contacted more often than they are currently;
  • Just over a third of respondents (35%) believe that networking sites and online recruitment will replace traditional recruitment agencies, and more than half (52%) believe that more job-seekers will choose to search for jobs online in the future;
  • On the whole, accountants are in it for the long haul, with 41% believe they will stay in the profession for the rest of their career, and a further 20% believing they will stay for 5-10 years.


Download the full results here 


The study ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ was conducted amongst 1701 accountants during September 2011. 

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