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Getting Ahead in the European Finance Talent Landscape: GTT 2024



Getting Ahead in the European Finance Talent Landscape GTT 2024

The accounting and finance sector is experiencing a pivotal moment as it contends with a swiftly changing environment influenced by advancements in technology, evolving workforce composition, and an exceptionally unstable job market. ACCA’s most recent Global Talent Trends 2024 report (GTT), which is based on insights from almost 10,000 finance professionals in 157 countries—24 of which are in Europe—offers a thorough summary of the major trends and issues affecting the industry.

The thorough survey provides an invaluable road map for professionals and employers in the European finance sector, illuminating the direction of the industry and the tactics required to draw in, hold on to, and develop elite personnel. Navigating a future full of opportunities and challenges will require embracing change, prioritizing team development and well-being, supporting upskilling, and adjusting to wage pressures.

The profession is driven by six main opportunities and challenges.

  1. Upskilling for AI: Mastering the Digital Frontier

There is a growing need for professionals with strong technical and data capabilities due to the finance industry’s rapid digitalization, which includes automation of AI and machine learning. Even though 72% of respondents from Europe see AI as an ally, an overwhelming majority (81%) feel that their employers should be doing more to help them get the training they need to deal with these new realities.

A further effect of the need for upskilling on talent retention is the willingness of 29% of respondents to change jobs to acquire the skills they will need in the future. Therefore, to address accountants’ ongoing concerns about the implications of AI for job security—44 percent of respondents expressed concern about this—and to guarantee that finance teams have the requisite digital expertise, European employers and professional bodies must collaborate.

  1. Handling wage pressures: Weathering the inflation storm

If the rising cost of living problem is not addressed, there is a serious risk to talent retention as well as an economic issue. 52% of respondents from Europe are not happy with their current salary, and 63% intend to request a raise within the next 12 months. It should come as no surprise that 49% of respondents from Europe would quit their jobs due to low pay.

These results highlight how critical it is for businesses to focus on offering competitive pay packages and creative ways to reward employees to attract and keep top talent.

  1. The growth of remote and hybrid work: preserving productivity while embracing flexibility

There will always be a shift toward more flexible work arrangements due to the pandemic. While many European organizations have embraced remote and hybrid work models (52% of respondents say they have some sort of hybrid working arrangement in place), there are still differences across the continent, with some nations and industries more open to this shift than others. One thing is evident, though: 71% of respondents from Europe said they preferred fully remote or hybrid work.

The benefits of adopting hybrid work are clear for employers who have done so successfully: happier, more engaged, and productive workers (64% of respondents think they are more productive under hybrid work). However, there are significant obstacles to teamwork and management abilities in this shift.

  1. Promoting fair opportunities and inclusive cultures to create a better future

Diversity, equity, and inclusivity policies are an important component of an organization’s employee value proposition and have a significant impact on how appealing it is to potential hires. According to 60% of European respondents, a strong diversity and inclusion culture would be a major draw for potential hires.

Even though there have been improvements (just 33% of Europeans think that someone from a low socioeconomic background can’t work in their organization), concerns remain about how truly inclusive these programs are. Organizations may tap into untapped creative and innovative reservoirs, strengthen their competitive edge in a more dynamic environment, and increase internal employee satisfaction by fostering diverse talent pools and embracing a wider spectrum of differences.

  1. Addressing burnout and encouraging a work-life equilibrium

According to the ACCA survey, there is an alarming amount of stress in the finance industry. Across the globe, 88% of respondents wanted a better work-life balance, and 71% wanted more organizational support for mental health. This is quite close to the reality of Europe.

The persistent mental health issues highlight the need for all-encompassing workplace support systems. Over half of European respondents (59%) reported experiencing work-related stress, anxiety, or burnout, despite some improvements since our first GTT report last year. It is imperative to address stressors such as blurred work/life boundaries, peak workloads, and inadequate organizational support structures comprehensively, as 32% of respondents have contemplated resigning due to well-being issues.

  1. Global Mobility and Limitless Opportunities: The Talent War

The results of the GTT survey indicate that, despite navigating the changing talent landscape, people view the accounting profession as a wise career choice that offers flexibility, rewards, and long-term prospects.

Despite this, there is a severe skills shortage in the industry, and companies are fighting tooth and nail to draw and keep the best employees. It is essential to comprehend the reasons behind the 38% of European respondents who stated that they intend to change jobs within the next year. According to our research, the top three reasons are better work-life balances (13%) better career opportunities (26%), and higher pay (31%). This emphasizes how organizations must create proactive and flexible plans to meet the changing requirements and mobility of certified public accountants.

Implications and Recommendations

The 2024 GTT report emphasizes how critical it is to tackle complex issues with agility and foresight as the finance sector grapples with global mobility and new opportunities. Whether navigating the implications of artificial intelligence, adopting hybrid work styles, or creating diverse work environments, companies need to put employee happiness and engagement first to survive in an uncertain world.

To attract and maintain the best employees, employers should prioritize creating effective talent management plans, funding reskilling and upskilling initiatives, and creating inclusive, flexible work environments.

To stay competitive and valuable to their organizations, professionals, on the other hand, should proactively upskill in fields like sustainability, data analytics, and digital technologies.

Long-term career success will depend on collaboratively embracing lifelong learning and ongoing professional development, and as ACCA, we will continue to support and enable our members and the larger profession to upskill and reskill for the future.

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