The accounting and finance profession in the United States is facing a pressing talent challenge, characterized by a significant imbalance between a substantial demand for skilled talent across various industries and a limited pool of available talent. IMA®, with the support of Robert Half and other research partners, conducted a nationwide research study, surveying more than 1,200 current and former U.S. accounting and finance professionals to gain insights into the prevailing job turnover dynamics in the profession and proposed effective strategies for talent retention.

The study revealed a disconcerting trend, with an alarming number of professionals intending to leave their current employer or the profession. The study found that job satisfaction, career advancement opportunities, work flexibility, employee engagement, and a sense of belonging were key contributors to their departures.

As CFOs and other accounting and finance leaders consider talent retention as one of their top priorities, continuously reevaluating talent retention strategies in response to emerging challenges caused by rapid advancements in technology, shifts in workforce demographics, and evolving employee expectations is paramount to sustaining organizational growth.

Topline findings of the study include:

  • Survey respondents in the 18-to-38-year-old age cohort, who experienced the highest turnover rates (39%) in the past 24 months, are most likely (26%) to leave their current employer in the next 12 months. Furthermore, as many as 8% of them are considering leaving the accounting and finance profession in the next 12 months.
  • Approximately 30% of those who intended to leave their current employers in the next 12 months expressed dissatisfaction with their work and co-workers. They were also five times more likely than those intending to stay to feel disengaged at work.
  • Career advancement concerns significantly influence respondents’ decision to leave their employer or the profession. Those with the intention to leave were nearly three times more likely to cite that they do not expect to advance in their organization.
  • Professionals intending to leave their employers, or the profession, were four times more likely to highlight the absence of a strong sense of belonging within their organizations.

To effectively retain talent, organizations can implement strategies by:

  1. Providing competitive compensation and benefits,
  2. Fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture,
  3. Recognizing outstanding performance,
  4. Providing career growth and development opportunities, and
  5. Promoting a healthy work-life balance.

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