Accountants are leaving South Africa – here’s where they go and what they get paid

South African companies face a historic shortage of newly qualified Chartered Accountants (CAs) in 2022, as many take advantage of international opportunities while others work remotely in South Africa for US companies at very attractive salaries.

Graeme Marais, director of Blue Recruiting, a specialist South African financial recruitment consultancy that places CAs locally and globally, said stricter global audit requirements have created an increased demand for qualified auditors.

Blue Recruiting has seen an increase in the number of newly qualified South African CAs moving to:

  • Great Britain;
  • Ireland;
  • the Netherlands;
  • Middle East; and
  • tax haven islands.

Local CAs are considered some of the most qualified accountants and auditors in the world with exceptional work ethic, Marais said. “Newly graduated CAs have always been drawn to international work experience and the attraction of living abroad and earning higher salaries in hard currency. “

Departure international salaries typically range from $ 46,700 (R 750,000) to $ 61,400 (R 982,000).

“But now the net has turned into a flood as the global war for talent escalates,” Marais noted. “It is not only better income that they seek: they are attracted by greater job security as well as political and social stability. Working abroad often leads to alternative passports and greater future security. “

He added that although the UK has always hired South Africans, they are hiring more than ever. The Netherlands has also dramatically increased its hiring of South Africans, making it particularly attractive to workers under the age of 30 by introducing tax refund incentives.

Another factor contributing to the growing shortage is that many CAs have not left South Africa but are WFH (work from home), usually outsourced to large US companies, making them more available to them. local businesses. Many of those workers are planning to relocate to the United States, Marais said.

“Wages for this kind of work can exceed the local equivalent wage by up to 40%,” Marais said. “These workers can potentially earn up to R720,000 per year once they complete their internship. And they could see an increase to over 800,000 rand in 2022. “

Starting salaries for newly qualified CAs in South Africa have remained stable at R550,000 – R650,000 for most of a decade.

“Businesses in South Africa still expect to pay this rate, but they will be hard pressed to find people unless they offer significantly higher wages and start hiring earlier,” Marais warned. He added that South African companies might also need to give applicants greater working flexibility and autonomy to be able to compete for top talent.

To obtain the best CAs, the Marais has advised companies to hire them in the first semester of the 3rd year of their training for a start-up in January 2023.

“In the past, these candidates were interviewed from October of their third year to February after completing the articles. If this is your policy, expect to have a limited choice of candidates. It is also advisable to use recruiters specializing in newly qualified CAs. They often have the advantage of meeting the best candidates first, ”said Marais.

The shortage was also exacerbated by the poor results of the accounting board exams this year, in which only 43% of applicants passed.


Read: 24 jobs in South Africa that pay over 2million rand per year


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