Date posted: 02/06/2021

Audit recruitment challenges in Australia

Survey reveals there is a substantial shortage of external auditors

In brief

  • The external audit profession in Australia has faced a major skills shortage for some time
  • This has been exacerbated by the government response to COVID-19
  • Survey finds there were 888 audit vacancies in April 2021

A CA ANZ survey of 16 of the largest professional services firms in Australia has shown there is a substantial shortage of external auditors.

Professional services firms in Australia traditionally have relied on overseas recruitment and secondments to fill the shortage of skilled auditors to cope with the concentration of June year-ends.

However, the closure of the Australian border has ended this practice. The CA ANZ survey in April 2021 of firms that each mostly employ more than 1000 audit professionals, identified 888 vacancies.

Summary of results:

  • The average active recruitment time is three to six months.
  • The salary for most of the vacancies is less than A$100,000.
  • Before the boarder closures, an average of 256 short-term secondees were recruited per year from overseas member network firms for an average of three to six months.
  • Before the boarder closures, an average of 415 long-term secondees were recruited from overseas member network firms per year for an average of 18 – 24 months.

CA ANZ has submitted this evidence to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to support extending 2021 reporting lodgement dates and has made a submission to the Australian inquiry on skilled migration. 

CA ANZ is actively engaged with the Federal Government on this issue with a view to achieving priority for external auditors when it comes to skilled migration and travel. 

The media have brought attention to these issues reporting on CA ANZ’s survey and position in the Australian Financial Review (paywall).