Date posted: 27/03/2018 7 min read

Survey tells story of CA pay and workplace preferences

Trends and insights from the 2017 member remuneration survey

In Brief

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand member survey gives a valuable remuneration overview for the accounting profession
  • It highlights importance of flexible work arrangements
  • The gender pay gap is also examined

Location, the sector you work in and seniority proved to be the big factors dictating Chartered Accountant (CA) salaries, according to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s (CA ANZ’s) latest Remuneration Survey.

The survey shows it pays to be working in Sydney, in finance or the industrial/manufacturing sector and as a chief executive or managing director.

“The survey revealed that in Australia CAs see the greatest growth in their remuneration mid-career when they have between 10 years and 15 years’ experience. In New Zealand the greatest growth occurs early in their careers from 5 to 10 years’ experience,” says Simon Grant, CA ANZ's Head of Members.

He says the survey results highlight the valuable role Chartered Accountants play in business.

“For example, the total value of CAs’ primary or secondary budgetary responsibilities for external suppliers, across all business areas, is over A$50 billion." 
Simon Grant, CA ANZ’s Head of Members

Last year, the remuneration of Australian CAs* increased by more than 2 percent (median) to reach an average of AU$195,262.

South Australia led the way with a 3 percent increase, followed by Northern Territory (2.5%). All other states saw 2 percent increases.

CAs in public practices saw the biggest leap in remuneration across all sectors (a 4% increase).

New Zealand

In New Zealand in 2017, total CA remuneration rose more than 2 percent (median).

Canterbury and regional North Island (Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu and Wairarapa) led the way with 3 percent increases. All other regions saw 2 percent increases.

The average remuneration of a New Zealand member is now NZ$153,285.

CAs in public practices enjoyed the biggest leap in remuneration across all sectors with a 5 percent increase.

Rating workplaces

In the non-financial part of the survey, 66 percent of CAs say being able to juggle your hours at the office, to work from home and manage your work-life balance are important considerations.

The next most selected grouping of workplace qualities is culture and atmosphere, which includes company values, collaboration and leadership, with 38 percent of respondents rating them as important.

Those aged between 30 and 49, and women, are most likely to consider flexibility important in their workplaces.

The survey shows that overall, women put more weight on flexibility than men by a significant margin. Three quarters of female CAs say a bit of give and take in the workplace is important compared to just over half of men.

Aside from flexibility women value most non-remuneration elements of a job slightly more than men, but only by a small margin.

The survey, held late last year, is the first time CA ANZ has run the survey in Australia and New Zealand. It was completed by just over 11,000 members including provisional CAs, Accounting Technicians and Associate Chartered Accountants.

It provides members and employers with a valuable overview and benchmarks of remuneration for the accounting profession.

Gender pay gap

In the survey gender pay gaps in the profession in Australia and New Zealand were also examined.

On average, female CAs in Australia earn 72 percent of what male CAs earn (A$155,558 v $217,256). New Zealand had a very similar percentage (71%, NZ$121,891 v $170,657).

Analysis conducted by Colmar Brunton (who conducted the survey) identified two thirds of the gap in Australia is explained by differences in roles and years of experience. In New Zealand, the comparable figure is nearly 75 percent.

Experience plays a big role in the current pay gap because the average male CA has much more experience than the average female CA. Twenty to 30 years ago many more men entered accounting than women and it is those CAs who are at their earning peak now. In contrast to 20 to 30 years ago, those now entering are almost as likely to be female as male.

Head of members, Grant, says Chartered Accountants are aware of the pay gap and that there’s some way to go before women hold senior roles in proportion to their overall numbers.

“We’re committed to engaging with their profession to address the issues. We have also committed to reporting for a Champions for Change initiative that focuses on reporting gender and cultural diversity. With our own Board we saw an increase in female representation from 36% to 50% and internally at a general leadership level from 34% to 58%.

Colmar Brunton said the one-third (Australia) and one-quarter (New Zealand) of the gender pay gap not explained by differences in roles and experience could be due to a range of factors, including workplace discrimination, factors not included in the survey, and/or non-remuneration choices in job choice.

*Remuneration figures in this example are based on CAs in full-time permanent roles

Remuneration Survey

If you’re a CA ANZ member, log in to the website using your Member ID and password to access the survey results

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