Date posted: 12/12/2022

Remuneration survey provides critical insights for accountants during skills shortage crisis

CA ANZ released its yearly Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey results with data from more than 7,700 members, shedding light on remuneration, workplace trends and the gender pay gap.

In brief

  • Median total remuneration grows 11 per cent in Australia and New Zealand, to AU$150,000 and nearly NZ$136,000 respectively 
  • Early signs that efforts to close gender pay gap making an impact, but calls for more men in the profession to take parental leave
  • Workplace flexibility, quality of leadership and ‘meaningful work’ key to future hires

Signs gender pay gap moving in the right direction  

The Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey shows total median remuneration has grown for accountants by 11 per cent in both Australia and New Zealand, confirming a career in the profession remains an attractive proposition during a skills shortage which has increased competition for talent.  

The survey also suggests the profession’s attempts to close the gender pay gap is having an impact. Based on average total remuneration (full-time) the gender pay gap in Australia has reduced from 28 per cent to 24 per cent, and in New Zealand from 34 per cent to 30 per cent.

This year the survey also looked at the gender pay gap through a median hourly pay metric, which revealed a gap in Australia and New Zealand of 19 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

"Last year our survey showed a significant gender pay gap between women and men in our profession, which prompted us to step-up our advocacy efforts for workforce participation – particularly at the Jobs and Skills Summit earlier this year," said CEO of Chartered Accountants ANZ Ainslie van Onselen.

"We launched a gender playbook Narrowing your gender pay gap to provide detailed resources and guidance that many of our members warmly received, particularly our small and medium practices who don’t always have big teams or tailored resources required to tackle what is a complex issue.

"Not only do we know this is the right thing to do, but so do our members. Nearly 80 per cent of the respondents said that it is important for CA ANZ to address the gender pay gap."     

The survey repeats a finding from previous years that men and women still hold differing perceptions of the seriousness of the gender pay gap. The majority (70 per cent) of women surveyed believing there is a gender pay gap, while the majority of men (also 70 per cent) remain sceptical a gap exists.

This finding indicates that there is more to be done by the profession and employers in terms of education on the gender pay gap and its consequences.

Calls for more men to take parental leave

The Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey found a distinct gap in the reasons why men and women take time away from work. Just 21 per cent of men reported taking a career break, versus 52 per cent of women.

According to the survey, women are more likely than men to take a career break to care for family (76 per cent), while men are more likely to take a career break for travel (51 per cent). Only 18 per cent of men surveyed cite parental leave as a reason for their career break.    

Simon Grant FCA, Chartered Accountants ANZ Group Executive Advocacy and International Development, says many people can benefit when men take on more parental leave responsibilities.    

"The career break data confirms what many suspect – that women take on the majority of parenting responsibilities, to the detriment of their careers. It's quite shocking to see the difference in career breaks, and the impacts it’s having."

"As detailed in our gender pay gap playbook, there are massive social, and economic benefits for families where men take on more parental leave responsibilities.

"If men pick up their end, there’s a strong argument to say that family connections will be stronger, earning power across couples improves, and women’s superannuation will be in a much better shape come retirement."

Employers need to consider more than pay  

This year's Chartered Accountant Remuneration Survey gives employers the inside view of what employees are looking for outside of remuneration, and shows employers need a targeted approach.

Overall, respondents said that workplace flexibility, quality of leadership and meaningful work are the most important non-remuneration factors for job satisfaction. However there was a clear split along generational lines.

Younger employees (< 29 years) prioritise career path opportunities, whereas flexibility of work is most important for mid-career employees (30–49 years), while meaningful work is most important for highly experienced workers (50+ years).

Flexibility was also highly rated by women with 28 per cent rating it the most important factor, compared to 14 per cent of men.

"Not everything is about money. Getting non-remuneration factors right can be the difference between keeping a star employee and having them walk away," said Ms van Onselen.

"These findings show that employers need to be targeted in how they attract and retain their talent and cater to the demographics within their organisation.    

"What's interesting is that benefits such as learning and development opportunities and well-being initiatives were rated lowest by all types of respondents, suggesting they’re considered 'hygiene' factors, and are a minimum expectation for employees," concluded Ms van Onselen.  

2022 Member Remuneration Survey

Download the full report