An annual survey of finance professionals reveals that 73% say a strong diversity and inclusion culture is a key factor in deciding to work at an organisation, as the talent crunch continues with over half expecting their career next move to be external to their current employer.

This wake-up call for employers comes from the biggest global talent survey across the accountancy profession. ACCA’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) latest annual Global Talent Trends Survey 2024 provides a unique and vital view of how people feel about their life at work.

Almost 10,000 professional accountants from 157 countries including Malaysia were asked about the concerns they held around future work and aspirations for their careers.

The survey also assessed key workplace issues such as hybrid working, diversity, mobility and mental health and the cost-of-living crisis.

According to the report, hybrid working (mix of office- and home-based working) is slowly gaining traction, but big mismatches remain between what employees want and what employers demand.

76% of all employees surveyed say it’s their preferred arrangement but in Malaysia, only 43% are in hybrid working arrangements while 54% are in the office full time.

Furthermore, the report showed a significant shift is underway in the Asia Pacific region, with a strong focus on integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in finance roles, highlighting the necessity for professionals to adapt and embrace new skills.

“Across APAC, we’re witnessing a transformative phase where AI and digital technologies are not just tools but essential elements that redefine the value finance professionals bring to the table,” says Pulkit Abrol, Director – Asia Pacific, ACCA.

“It’s a compelling and exciting call to action for organisations, individuals and future professional talent to leverage these technologies, enhancing analytical capabilities and strategic insights,” he said.

The report further reveals a critical insight into the talent dynamics within the APAC market, noting that a staggering 58% of professionals are seeking a pay rise in 2024, reflecting the growing concern overcompensation amidst global economic strains.

However, there’s a notable dichotomy, with 50% believing that transitioning to a new organisation is necessary to achieve their financial goals.

“This underscores the urgent need for organisations in APAC to rethink their talent retention strategies, ensuring that career progression and financial recognition are aligned with the expectations of their workforce,” Abrol adds.

A spotlight is also cast on the in-demand soft skills that are pivotal in the current climate. Communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and initiative are identified as the core competencies employers in APAC eagerly seek.

These skills complement the technical expertise in finance, enabling professionals to navigate the complexities of the modern business environment effectively.

The ACCA’s report emphasises the importance of continuous learning and development, encouraging professionals in APAC to engage in lifelong education to remain competitive.

“The landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and staying ahead means being proactive about learning and personal development,” remarks Abrol.

“ACCA is committed to supporting our community of members and future members through this journey, providing resources and platforms to enhance their skills and confidently embrace the future,” he added.

As the APAC region continues to accelerate in adopting these technologies and global talent trends, ACCA remains at the forefront, offering guidance, support, and thought leadership to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The Global Talent Trends 2024 report serves as a crucial resource for professionals and organisations alike, aiming to foster an environment of growth, innovation, and excellence in the accounting and finance profession.


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