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Ambitious ‘generation next’ finance professionals intend to go solo, finds global survey


22 Nov 2016


Euro & Finance
Social Europe & Jobs

Young finance professionals have their eye on a jump to a new job within the next two years, and most intend to eventually set out on their own, according to a global survey from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Called Generation Next, the survey examined the career aspirations of the younger generation in finance today.

Polling over 18,000 professionals under the age of 36, the survey found that a large majority of today’s young finance professionals intend to start their own company.

‘The next generation are aspirational, entrepreneurial and unafraid of going solo,’ said Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA.

‘They have grown up in the age of the start-up – and see themselves very much as part of it. A huge 81 per cent of respondents want to start their own company at some point in the future, with 10 per cent harbouring ambitions to do as their next career move.’


Generation now

The report also reveals that almost three quarters (70%) of respondents are looking to move jobs in the next two years, with 67% looking for a promotion.

Helen Brand says: “Generation next is ‘generation now’ when it comes to mobility. There is no doubt that the “job for life” is less prevalent within the modern world and employers who don’t deliver on their high expectations risk haemorrhaging their best talent to competitors, both at home and abroad. If employers want to keep hold of their talent, then they need to ensure career planning packages are available, from learning and development to talent spotting initiatives.”


Talent retention

Respondents indicated that they were more likely to stay with an employer if they offered the opportunity to learn and develop skills (88%), career progression opportunities (88%) and a competitive financial remuneration package (87%).

“Our future finance leaders are happy to seize the initiative in the labour market to achieve professional satisfaction. They know that demand for their skills is high and if their employer isn’t delivering, they won’t wait around. The result of that is employers can’t attract, nurture or retain the finance leaders of tomorrow in the same way they did the leaders of today,” added Helen Brand.

“So the challenge ahead for employers large and small is making sure they provide the sort of work environment and clear path for progression that the best of the next generation demand.”


The ‘company woman’

While generation next employees of both genders sought rapid career progression, female respondents were more likely to show loyalty to their current employer than their male counterparts.

“The research shows that women are more likely to be happy with their current remuneration (36%, compared to 30% of men) and to expect to stay with their current employer in their next role (42%, compared to 37% of men),” added Helen Brand.

“And while men and women were equally likely to seek roles on the basis of remuneration and career progression, the research does indicate that females in generation next are still expecting to balance their job with family life. Women are more likely to accept a role on the basis of work life balance (87%, compared to 69% of men) and flexible working arrangements (75%, compared to 69% of men).”


Rise of the robots

Much has been written over the past few years on the threat of automation to jobs, but for the next generation of accountants, the rise of the robots presents an opportunity, not a risk.

“The next generation understands that automation will replace the need for human capital across a number of functions, but far from being threatened by this, they see it as an opportunity to free up time for strategic activities.

“More than half (57%) of respondents believe that technology will replace many entry level roles in the profession. However 84% say that technology will enable them to focus on much higher value-added activity.”


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For media enquiries, contact:

Adele Gilbert, ACCA Newsroom

T: +44 (0)20 7059 5077

M: +44 (0)7753 242 464

Twitter @ACCANews


Notes to Editors


About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 100 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: