The global workplace

Jun 01, 2018
Vanessa Gowen takes you on a world tour to highlight the best career opportunities for Chartered Accountants.

We’re hearing it all the time – millennials and Generation Z are by far the most mobile demographic and are eager to gain work placements overseas. In today’s globalised and interconnected society, they view international experience as a necessary component to a successful career. A professional accountancy qualification has always been an excellent passport to travel while progressing your career.


Even with Brexit looming, London remains an active market for Chartered Accountants. Its close proximity to Ireland will always make it an attractive option to Irish professionals. The degree of uncertainty in both the economic and political landscapes has meant that hiring in 2017 was moderately suppressed in terms of momentum, with time to hire extended when compared to previous years.

There has, however, been increasing confidence coming from employers in 2018. Organisations across banking and greater financial services are looking for candidates with exceptional analytical skills combined with the capability to create strong cross business relationships. Candidates with these skills can expect to attract a premium from potential employers.

Asia Pacific

As the market across Asia continues to improve, so too do job prospects and salaries. The rise of contracting in Singapore is a key trend, highlighting Singaporean-based companies that see the benefit of adopting a flexible workforce. This is a positive situation for both employers and employees in that region.

Additionally, the growth of the fintech sector will continue to drive demand for a qualified, mobile workforce looking to extract full value for their skillset. In Hong Kong, the strong Chinese economy coupled with continued investment and technological advances are fuelling demand for talent and pushing salaries upwards. Competition for positions within finance and accounting is creating the requirement for candidates to upskill.


Demand for candidates in Australia continues to grow. Increased visa complexities have led to fewer immigrants, and therefore, increasing competition for talent. Additionally, clients are becoming conscious of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. While salaries are relatively static, candidates are displaying more flexibility around salary expectations in exchange for the right culture and organisational fit. Companies are also offering other benefits, such as paid maternity and paternity leave, laptops, phones and additional leave.


Within the offshore markets in the Caribbean, the Channel Islands and Bermuda, competition for roles is as fierce as ever, particularly with low unemployment rates, a reputation for a strong work-life balance and attractive income tax structures. Opportunities and remuneration have held steady for a number of years in the Caribbean region, however increased governmental pressure to give precedence to local candidates has proven an obstacle for some, particularly in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. At present, opportunities are more forthcoming in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey and Guernsey – although offshore firms in all jurisdictions will always fight for top-qualified talent.

Working abroad is very attractive and the Chartered qualification provides you with a passport to an overseas career. It can be challenging to move directly from practice into a tenuously connected role like fund accounting when going offshore. However, if you’re currently an audit senior auditing funds, there’s a route to market by remaining in practice. In truth, a lateral move when positioning yourself into a new market is often-times the most sensible way to gain a foothold and it allows you to establish yourself in your core discipline. By taking a medium-term view of your career and weighing up the overall prospects, you’ll have far greater success in finding a new place to
call home.

Vanessa Gowen is International Recruitment Manager at Morgan McKinley.