As with other sectors within financial services, there's a definite shortage of accounting and commerce candidates in the Australian market. This tightness in turn has raised pay and affected the sourcing of candidates.
Katrina Bunting of Chandler Heath Recruitment says the shortage of domestic accounting professionals is not a new phenomenon - in fact, it's been an issue for quite some time. When recruiting for positions, Bunting says it is not uncommon for her clients (especially the large accounting and commerce organisations) to hire offshore applicants.
"Whilst most applications come in from the UK or Europe, we have also seen an increase in candidates from Asia," Bunting says.
If we take the above scenario, large organisations tend to offer relocation expenses when hiring offshore candidates. On top of this, a mid to senior level accountant could expect a base salary of between A$90,000 to A$110,000.
Accounting firms are also introducing bonus payments as a means to lure applicants over and to retain the ones they already have. "It's a fairly new concept but it's needed," says Bunting, who also expects that the trend of hiring offshore recruits is a trend that is here to stay.
Looking at the other end of the salary spectrum, accounting companies are also paying up for suitable graduates. "Graduates can currently earn between A$40,000 to A$50,000, which is pretty good for a salary straight out of university," says Bunting. However, to be in the running, Bunting adds that large firms still have a preference for graduates with a solid academic record and who have had a bit of work experience.