Robust salary growth for accountants in China – survey

Survey results point to shortages in skilled accountants and a high number of businesses expecting to take on new employees

According to a recent CPA Australia survey of members in China, many accountants are experiencing robust wage growth due in part to a shortage of skilled accountants and strong employment growth.

Of the respondents, 47 per cent stated that they received a pay rise of five per cent or more in the past 12 months, with 21 per cent stating that they received a pay rise of ten per cent or more.

The survey results indicate that shortages in skilled accountants in China and the high number of businesses expecting to take on new employees are likely to be important factors behind the strong wage growth.

Half of the respondents think there is a shortage of skilled accountants in China and 45 per cent expect their employer to increase headcount in the next six months.

The main reasons identified in the survey results for a shortage of skilled accountants were:

  • a mismatch in the education of accountants and the demands of employers
  • the increasing sophistication of Chinese companies
  • increasing compliance requirements
  • the increasing number of Chinese companies expanding overseas.
The main reasons why respondents expect their employers to add to their headcount in the next six months were:
  • robust growth of their existing business
  • employers requiring employees with new skills and knowledge
  • to assist in entering new markets
  • the employer undertaking one or more significant projects.
The expected strong demand for employees over the next six months is having an impact on the near-term career planning of many respondents, with 30 per cent stating they will look to change jobs in the next six months.

Surprisingly, salary is not the top consideration for those considering changing jobs: professional development and training opportunities, and work/life balance are more important considerations.

“Surprising as it might sound, the survey data highlights that it takes a lot more than an attractive salary to keep your employees happy,” says Kevin Ng, President of the North China Committee of CPA Australia.  

“Attention to career development not only leads to a better skilled and productive workforce, it also helps companies attract and retain top and valued employees. Helping your staff maintain work-life balance can be a balancing act; however, it is an important element in developing retention and recruitment strategies.”

Yet when it comes to retaining staff, respondents were most likely to choose salary and wages along with benefits and incentive programs as the most important factors contributing to employee retention in their company.  

"It takes a lot more than an attractive salary to keep your employees happy." Kevin Ng FCPA
Not surprisingly, social media is an important tool for many accountants in China looking to change jobs, with almost half of respondents stating that they use social media when job seeking.

Among those, 49 per cent believe social media gives them easier access to potential employers and 42 per cent stated that it helps them identify jobs that are a more suitable match for their experience and skills.

LinkedIn was the most popular social media platform for job seeking followed by WeChat.

About the survey

The survey was conducted among CPA Australia members residing in Mainland China. The online survey had 252 respondents and was conducted from 21 April to 4 May 2015.

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