Chartered accountants Harris & Co report that most accountants would consider working abroad and are seeking improvements in their quality of life rather than any increase in salary, according to a survey by recruitment specialists Marks Sattin.
The firm’s Market Insight 2013 study found 70% of accountants are prepared to move to an overseas post, with the US proving the most popular destination, cited by 42%. Other options were Australia (33%), mainland Europe (28%), Canada (24%) and Singapore (23%).
While English-speaking countries topped the list, there was less interest in emerging economies such as China (8%), India (7%) and Malaysia (9%).
Overseas moves were most commonly motivated by a desire for a better quality of life (61%) and to experience a different culture (54%). Financial considerations came fifth on the list, with only 48% saying an increased salary was a key driver.
The research also indicated that 27% of accountants expect to remain overseas for just one to two years and just over a quarter of respondents will spend two to five years abroad, suggesting most see it as a temporary move before returning to settle in the UK.
Dave Way, managing director of Marks Sattin said: ‘Many accountants will have missed out on a gap year following university as they went straight into training so are keen to see some of the world while still working and developing their career, for many before thinking about starting a family.’
The survey suggests there has been a drop in levels of interest in overseas postings, with 10% fewer considering this option compared to Marks Sattin’s 2010 report.
Way said: ‘When the UK was at the lowest point of the recession, the desire to move overseas reached its height. It is therefore pleasing from a UK accountancy perspective that positive growth, however fragile, is creating confidence and job security, and making more people want to stay in the UK.’
The study suggests accountants are reasonably buoyant about the UK economy in the next six months, with 73% saying they feel more confident than or as confident as they did in the last six months. They also report strong job security, with 78% feeling secure in their jobs now, up eight points on the 70% seen in 2012.
Around a third of those surveyed (36%) are planning a change of job in the next year, mostly for reasons of career development (33%) or to take on a new challenge (29%). Money again featured lower in the rankings, with 26% saying they wanted to move or a higher salary.