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7 in 10 Accountants Consider Moving Abroad

  • 42% would target a move to the USA - the most popular destination
  • Quality of life is the most popular reason for  61% of potential emigrants
  • 48% cite money as the reason for a move – only the fifth most common reason
  • Job security up to 78% from 70% in 2012

Seven in ten accountants would consider moving to another country for a better quality of life, with 42% choosing the USA ahead of Australia and Singapore, according to specialist accountancy and finance recruiter Marks Sattin.

The specialist recruiter’s Market Insight report found the most popular destinations are English speaking with USA, Australia and Canada making up three of the top four countries where accountants would most like to work. Mainland Europe is the third most popular destination, Singapore the fifth.  Despite the language barrier, emerging economies such as China (8%), India (7%) and Malaysia (9%) are also on the agenda for career moves.

Top 5 Destinations for International Relocation:

  1. USA (42%)
  2. Australia (33%)
  3. Mainland Europe (28%)
  4. Canada (24%)
  5. Singapore (23%)

Surprisingly, financial motivation is the fifth most common reason for which accountants would relocate abroad, with only 48% saying an increased salary was a key driver. Personal reasons, including a perception of better quality of life abroad (61%), followed by the desire to “experience a different culture” (54%), top the list. Professional reasons such as “career development” are also key, with “a new career opportunity” (52%) and “better employment opportunities” (49%) completing the top five.
The research also indicated that 27% of accountants expect to remain overseas for just one to two years and just over a quarter of respondents will spend two to five years abroad, suggesting most see it as a temporary move before returning to settle in the UK.

Dave Way, Managing Director of Marks Sattin said,
“Despite the lucrative offers available for accountants overseas, money is way down the list of their top priorities for an international move. Much more important is the different way of life they can experience abroad. Many accountants will have missed out on a gap year following university as they went straight into training so are keen to see some of the world while still working and developing their career, for many before thinking about starting a family.

Another reason is the skills and management boost working overseas can provide. Emerging financial centres like Singapore and Hong Kong, and even faster growing economies such as Brazil or India offer great prospects for rapid progression and gaining management experience. If emigrants return to the UK, and are looking to settle more permanently, this greater management experience and variety on their CV will often make them stand out from the crowd. However, location is key. Exposure to other global financial centres will be prized more than just working abroad for the sake of it."

Job Security and Optimism

Despite 70% of UK accountants still considering an overseas move, this proportion has fallen ten percentage points from the 80% seen in Marks Sattin’s 2010 report, demonstrating a possible relationship between economic performance and the desire to move overseas. Annual GDP growth had fallen to a low of -6.2% in the UK in 2009. Popular emigration destinations such as the USA, which saw a comparatively modest low of -4.6% GDP and Australia which did not enter recession at all with a low point of +0.8%, seemed much more attractive prospects then than now.

In contrast, in Q4 2012, the gap between UK growth (0.2%), America (1.7%) and Australia (3.1%) is comparatively smaller. UK accountants remain reasonably buoyant about the economy in the next six months with 73% saying they feel more confident or as confident as they did in the last six months. They also report strong job security with 78% feeling secure in their jobs now, up eight points on the 70% seen in 2012.

Dave Way continues,
“Obviously the golden beaches of Australia or the bright lights of America will always have their allure, but overseas moves are in part driven by the economic performance of the country. When the UK was at the lowest point of the recession, the desire to move overseas reached its height. It is therefore pleasing from a UK accountancy perspective that positive growth, however fragile, is creating confidence and job security, and making more people want to stay in the UK.”

Motivation for UK Job Moves

The past year has seen consistent candidate movement in accountancy with 36% anticipating a change of jobs in the next year. Mirroring the reasons cited for international moves, 33% said career development was the main motivation for moving while 29% wish to seek a new challenge. Just 26% said the main reason was moving for a higher salary, the third most common reason.

Marks Sattin's consultants are well placed to advise you on opportunities, career paths, market trends, and salaries in the accountancy sector. Contact us to know more about accountant jobs in UK.

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