In the face of a continuing global talent shortage; employers warned that a strong diversity and inclusion culture is critical.

78% of employers believe Artificial Intelligence will enable finance professionals to add more value.

The annual survey of finance professionals reveals that 73% say a strong diversity and inclusion culture is a key factor in deciding to work at an organisation, as the talent crunch continues with over half expecting their career next move to be external to their current employer.

This wake-up call for employers comes in the biggest global talent survey across the accountancy profession, ACCA’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) latest annual Global Talent Trends Survey 2024 provides a unique and vital view of how people feel about their life at work.

Almost 10,000 professional accountants from 157 countries including; South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe were asked about the concerns they held around work in the future as well as aspirations for their careers. The survey also assessed key workplace issues such as hybrid working, diversity, mobility, mental health, and the cost of living crisis.

Key themes that have emerged this year are as follows:

  1. 73% believe that a strong diversity and inclusion culture would be a key factor in deciding to work at an organisation. Employers have more to do with diversity though as 41% of employees believe their organisation focuses more on certain aspects of diversity than others.
  2. Professional accountants have endless career opportunities with over half expecting their next move to be external to their organisation, making retention an ongoing puzzle for employers.
  3. Global economic strains continue to place huge pressure on talent attraction and retention. 58% will ask their employer for a pay rise in 2024 – but 50% believe they will have to leave their organisation to get one.
  4. Employers are excited by the opportunity AI offers with 78% believing it will enable finance professionals to add more value. But just over a third of employees are still concerned about its relentless pace of change.
  5. Mental health remains a major challenge with 57% saying their mental health suffers because of work pressures, and almost half still feeling their employer doesn’t consider mental health to be a priority.
  6. Hybrid working is slowly gaining traction, but big mismatches remain between what employees want and what employers demand. 76% of employees say it’s their preferred arrangement but many employers continue to insist on full-time office working arrangements. The survey further reveals that 87% of employees in Zimbabwe are fully office-based while 12% are hybrid working ( a mix of office and home-based working)

Jamie Lyon, Global Head of Skills, Sectors, Technology at ACCA said: ‘The shortage of talent and cost of meeting pay rise demands, together with the many job opportunities available to professional accountants, means that attracting and retaining talent presents a huge ongoing challenge for employers. So it’s unsurprising that the number of respondents planning to move away from their organisations remains high, at 54% again this year. However, with 73% of respondents saying that a strong diversity and inclusivity culture is a key factor in choosing an employer, there’s a real opportunity for employers who are strong in this area to differentiate themselves in a competitive market.’

About ACCA

We are ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), a globally recognised professional accountancy body providing qualifications and advancing standards in accountancy worldwide.

Founded in 1904 to widen access to the accountancy profession, we’ve long championed inclusion and today proudly support a diverse community of over 247,000 members and 526,000 future members in 181 countries.

Our forward-looking qualifications, continuous learning, and insights are respected and valued by employers in every sector. They equip individuals with the business and finance expertise and ethical judgment to create, protect, and report the sustainable value delivered by organisations and economies.

Guided by our purpose and values, our vision is to develop the accountancy profession the world needs. Partnering with policymakers, standard setters, the donor community, educators, and other accountancy bodies, we’re strengthening and building a profession that drives a sustainable future for all.

Nancy Karanja | Senior Public Relations Specialist | Tel: +27 11 325 2605| M: +254 725616229|Museum Hill Centre | Muthithi Rd | Nairobi – Kenya

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