ACCA: Shared Services Facing ‘Potential’ Finance Talent Deficit

Ambitious young professionals working in shared services have a huge appetite for fast career progression, according to a global study from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

“Generation Next: Managing Talent in Finance Shared Services” survey uncovered that nearly 90% of young professionals in this sector want a job in a different area of finance in their next career move or later on.

In shared services, 68% are looking to change role within the next two years; and  71% expect their next position will be a promotion. More than half (54%) expect they will have to move outside their current organization to achieve this.

The research takes a closer look at the aspirations of young finance professionals working in shared services today and builds on ACCA’s Generation Next research, which polled close to 19,000 professionals under the age of 36.

Maggie McGhee, Director of Professional Insights said: “These trends clearly have implications for the shared services function. If the emerging talent is more transitory than previous generations, and looking to progress with new challenges at a faster rate, there is a potential for a draining of talent from this sector if employers cannot match the career aspirations of this generation.”

“Finance may not necessarily be the intended destination of young professionals, and many have entrepreneurial ambitions that they often want to fulfill very early on in their career. In many cases, as opportunities for professional growth are perceived to be limited in this sector, many are looking for a way out.

“While shared services increasingly represents a career destination in its own right for those in more senior positions, leadership must ensure the attractiveness of a longer-term career permeates throughout the shared services organization at all levels.”

Technology holds no fear

Technology holds no fear for this generation and could be used as a recruitment opportunity for shared services employers. With 88% of respondents in shared services seeing technology as an opportunity to focus on higher-value activity, being the innovation lab of the organization can represent an attractive proposition to this tech-savvy generation.

Across the profession, opportunities for growth and development are top attraction and retention factors; however these are perceived to be limited in finance shared services. For the industry, this can represent a potential risk for talent deficit in the long-run.

“If employers are to retain the best and brightest, they must look to develop effective management programs that are suited for a generation with ambition,” concluded McGhee. “Employers must work out forward-thinking career paths that can satisfy ambitions for career progression, and ensure engagement taps into top talent aspirations for building up a broader portfolio of skills, relevant beyond pure finance.”


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