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January 25, 2023

Are ‘Strong Leadership, Agile Working, and a People-Centric Value Proposition’ on Your List of Must Haves at Work?

a pair of pensive people

UK businesses within the accounting industry are understaffed by 22% and leaders everywhere are busy telling each other the things accounting professionals — particularly the younger generation — are hungry for at work. Fewer hours? Better money? Not getting scammed out of accrued PTO with a switch to “unlimited” vacation? NAH. What we really need here are some performative buzzwords.

AccountancyAge has the latest list of must-have for this season’s hottest accountants:

But while supply is clearly falling short of demand, the newfound impetus for bolstering acquisition and retention efforts means this is not necessarily a bad thing, says Sally Cosgrove, partner and head of people for audit at PwC UK.

Such sentiments are echoed by Victoria Pounder, head of HR at Moore Kingston Smith, who argues that while salary, trust and personal and professional development remain important, “people are keen” for strong leadership, agile working, and a people-centric value proposition.

“We understand these elements are ‘need to have’ and not ‘nice to have’ for our people and prospective talent, which empowers us to flip the ‘great resignation’ into a great opportunity.”

Pounder also argues that the key to attracting talent is recognising that “no one size fits all”, and that fostering a feeling of inclusion is key to retaining staff.

“Engagement speaks to retention, and employers must exercise recognition, appreciate their people and nurture a sense of belonging – which is a new challenge in our now hybrid world,” she says.

You’ll recall what happened when EY pushed empathetic leadership as more important than raises beating inflation or, well, anything. Let’s just say it wasn’t well-received.

Will buzzwords win the war on talent? Doubtful. GEE if only there were some kind of way to retain talent…I mean, we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas! *ahem* There’s a whole list of things in the below Reddit thread that weren’t suggested by someone in HR with a worn copy of Harvard Business Review Mad Libs on their desk.

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