Another New Year means more evolution for the accounting and finance world, and how your company recruits top accounting and finance talent has changed. Our new survey, “The True Cost of Working,” sheds light on some of the changes and how you can adapt to them.
How is the accounting and finance world evolving?
While the overall U.S. unemployment rate currently sits at 5.6%, the U.S. unemployment rate for accounting and finance professionals has trended about 1.5% lower. This is largely due to the “unprecedented demand for accounting grads” that we’re currently witnessing. Furthermore, from 2012-2022, the job growth rate for accounting is projected to be 13%—on par with the overall job growth rate. In addition to these stats, job – seekers—especially relatively younger candidates (the Millennial generation)—are now looking beyond salaries to other job benefits, which we’ll explore below. All of these factors create a candidate-driven market, where job seekers are more selective and employers must implement thoughtful hiring strategies.
What—other than salary—is most important to accounting and finance candidates?
There’s at least one obvious answer here. A candidate needs a job that matches their skills, and to a lesser extent, their education. But we must look beyond salaries and skills. This is where our survey, “The True Cost of Working,” helps us go more in depth. The survey was conducted in November 2014 and is based on the responses of nearly 500 working professionals. Let’s see what they had to say and what we can determine from their responses.
You’ve likely heard it before, and now you’re hearing it again—from the most recent group of professionals surveyed. Work-life balance is still gold to top accounting and finance candidates, and it will probably remain that way for the foreseeable future. Here are some survey stats that paint the picture:
- 25% of respondents hope to get a new job in 2015 due to a lack of work-life balance.
- 63% of respondents missed what they consider a special personal moment due to work.
- 85% of respondents indicate they spend money in order to de-stress from too much work.
So while this isn’t breaking news, it does further emphasize what companies should focus on, beyond salaries. And while a lack of work-life balance might not prevent top talent from accepting your offer, it will also not prevent them from leaving your company sooner, rather than later—costing you time, money and productivity.
What can you do to promote work-life balance?
Basically, your company can’t just talk the talk; you must walk the walk and make work-life balance a part of your culture. You cannot simply discuss the concept in meetings, increase vacation days and encourage a flexible work schedule—you must follow through with it. Survey employees, ask them if they’re striking the right balance and encourage them to take all of their vacation days. Observe their performance and stress levels to ensure they’re getting plenty of opportunities to turn their work off and their free time on.
Candidates and employees aren’t just worried about their company’s expenses; they’re also worried about their personal work-related expenses. Let’s also kick this section off with key survey date. 30% of respondents have a New Year’s resolution to reduce work-related expenses. This is most likely due to the fact that the average weekly spend on work-related expenses is extremely high. Weekly expenses include gas/transportation ($66.60), lunch ($29.00), and coffee ($10.40).
What can you do to reduce work-related expenses?
It’s the little things that often matter most, and that applies here. Offer employees the opportunity to work from home 1-2 days per week to save on transportation. Surprise them with a free lunch every now and then. Provide free coffee and refreshments in your break rooms. All of these things help employees reduce work-related expenses, but more importantly, they show your company cares about employees, which in turn, creates a more positive company culture.
There’s no question that today’s workforce is not only concerned with salaries, but also with the overall quality of their careers—and work-life balance and work-related expenses are two key components of that. Your company must take the needs and wants of top candidates and incorporate them in your recruiting and interview processes and in your company culture. That’s the best way to attract and retain the talent you need in a competitive, candidate-driven market.