Accounting firms of all shapes and sizes are recruiting heavily across the board. The industry was lucky enough to come through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, and according to recent figures just 2% of accountants are currently unemployed.
However, accounting’s old-fashioned image can make it challenging for firms to attract young talent. Many millennials – those born between 1978 and 1996, also known as Generation Y – aren’t very interested in an industry where half the current workforce are aged over 50.
How can firms appeal to a highly connected generation defined by their flexibility, propensity for multi-tasking and entrepreneurial flair ?
Recruiting young accountants: clearly define your needs
Before beginning your recruitment process, think carefully about what a junior accountant could bring to your firm. Drafting the job description will help you ask yourself the right questions.
Why are you currently seeking to recruit new staff? Are you opening a new position or replacing someone who’s on their way out? In order to better understand what you’re expecting from your new hire, consider:
- Your consulting firm’s current and future needs
- How your new collaborator will fit into your workflow
- The tasks your hire will be asked to carry out
After discussing recruitment in terms of your firm’s needs, you will need to think about the kind of person who would be a perfect fit, including:
- Fields of competence
- Education level
- Expectations in terms of professional development
This will allow you to be clear with your future candidates, avoiding unpleasant surprises and thus limiting future turnover.
Recruiting via social media
There is a grain of truth in the (much derided) image of millennials as surgically attached to their smartphones. Digital technology does play a central role in the daily life of today’s young professionals but this is in no way a disadvantage for the accounting profession, currently in the midst of a major technological shift. More and more firms are making professional social networks such as LinkedIn part of their recruitment process. Young graduates love this approach for its practical, flexible and innovative aspects.
Your job offer: more than just a check
The needs of your firm are of course an important aspect of your recruitment process, but remember to keep your candidates’ needs at the center of the discussion. What do you have to offer a future recruit?
According to recent studies, salary is no longer the number one factor when considering a job. Potential hires care about opportunities for growth within the firm, but also work environment, training opportunities and work / life balance.
A competitive salary is an obvious plus point for the right candidate, but do not forget to highlight everything that makes your firm unique, dynamic and a great place to start a career.
Focus on work flexibility
The new generation of accountants is used to using mobile solutions in both the personal and professional sphere. Online accounting software is now commonplace and enables employees to work from anywhere and with anyone, even located hundreds of miles away.
For many millennials, traditional work practices with fixed hours show a lack of flexibility . The option to work remotely on a full-time or part-time basis depending on needs will attract young accountants who will see this as proof of your organization’s innovative mindset.
As you can see, the sense of innovation, flexibility and digital acumen that defines Generation Y is a much-needed source of change for the accounting profession. A firm that listens to its employees, is connected and open to new work practices will find new ways to reach out and recruit accountants of the new generation. This new approach will also positively impact your bottom line.
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This post is also available in: French