High number of accountants are unhappy in their jobs

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Accountants can be a pretty unhappy bunch, it would seem. About one in five think about quitting every week according to some pretty enlightening research.

CABA, the ICAEW’s wellbeing charity, surveyed 251 members, finding that 8 per cent think about calling it a day every day; 14 per cent consider leaving up to four times a week … and so on. Among 35-44 year olds, 34 per cent consider quitting at least once a week.

The profession led various sectors in the dissatisfaction stakes too. Manufacturing was in second place. Overall, about 15 per cent of accountants were unhappy with their careers.

Work life balance

CABA’s research also showed that ICAEW members were struggling to achieve a work-life balance, with over half regularly working late and 22 per cent staying back every day. Nearly half took work home, while over a third regularly worked on days off (compared to 19 per cent across all sectors).

Not surprising then that about 21 per cent of accountants missed at least one personal or family event a week.

Kelly Feehan, CABA services director, says: ‘Chartered accountancy is a competitive sector, with firms striving to attract and keep the best talent.

Shockwave through the profession

“The fact that so many employees are feeling discontent in their roles should send a shockwave through the profession – put simply, employers need to act or lose their best staff.

“Replacing talent takes time, effort and is costly, so employers should consider some other fixes instead of assuming employees can be replaced like for like.”

She adds: “Moving wellbeing up the corporate agenda could help facilitate this – the fact people are crying, checking emails when sick and regularly thinking about quitting shows something has got to change.

Change cultures

“Wellbeing and work-life blend will be a real priority as more millennials move into the workplace, so employers need to change cultures now to prepare themselves for the workforce of the future.

“In today’s always-on world there’s no separation between work and home – we can work wherever, whenever, which blurs the boundaries between our personal and professional lives.

“Whilst this is handy in replying to urgent emails on the commute, it also puts pressure on employees to stay connected to work, even in their downtime, as few of us can ignore multiple notifications buzzing away.

“Whilst we don’t work as many hours as previous generations have, we don’t have the disconnect they did – making us mentally fatigued, which is no doubt linked to reduced productivity levels.

“If employers want a happy, healthy workforce they need to take notice of these findings and put measures in place to help staff regain control of their equilibrium, as this will lead to a more engaged, productive team.”

Quite.