The demand for accountants remained high in 2023, and it is expected to be no different in 2024. Since 2020, the profession of accountant has been considered a bottleneck profession, and the shortage of these financial experts continues to grow.
Kevin Blockx, senior manager at staffing specialist Walters People, and specialising in recruiting both temporary and permanent accountants, provides insight into what the job market for accounting professionals will look like in 2024.
Broad demand for accountants at all experience levels
The demand for accountants is diverse and transcends all experience levels, from junior accountant to accounting manager. Kevin Blockx stresses that professionals with one to two years of work experience are in particular demand, as are senior accountants. Over the past year, there has been constant demand for accounting professionals, with notable peaks in July and early October.
Even entry-level professionals have little trouble finding their first job within accounting. Research by Walters People shows that 73% of gradyates surveyed in 2023 found a job within 3 months of graduating, 47% of them even before they had completed their degree. "The persistent shortage in the labour market has fortunately led employers to see increasing potential in recent graduates with a background in accounting or economics," says Kevin.
Accountants open to new opportunities
On average, finance professionals remain loyal to their employer for just over 1 year. Walters People's recently published salary guide shows that as many as 58% of surveyed finance professionals plan to change jobs in 2024.
Precisely because they are so fiercely sought-after in the labour market, accountants are very selective when choosing a new employer. For instance, a good work-life balance plays a prominent role, but the company culture and the organisation's values and standards also play a part in determining whether or not they accept a contract proposal.
Salary as decisive factor
The salary offer is often decisive when choosing a new job. The most sought-after professionals even receive several job offers simultaneously and choose the one with the best working conditions and the highest salary. Even accountants who start on temporary assignments are not reluctant to end them early if a better opportunity presents itself.
Salary expectations in 2024
The same Walters People salary guide also shows that 37% of respondents expect a salary increase in 2024. Two-thirds even hope to receive an increase of up to 10%.
"With the continued demand for accountants, we expect salaries for AP and AR accountants, GL accountants, senior accountants and team leaders to increase slightly in 2024. Organisations in dire need of accounting support are encouraged to offer competitive salary packages and attractive benefits such as hybrid working option, bonus system and comprehensive insurance package to attract and retain the right talent in this competitive job market," concludes Kevin.
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