In the aftermath of the financial crisis, young finance professionals of the 21st century – in the EU but also worldwide – are seeking increasingly aspirational and dynamic career paths, both inside and outside traditional mainstream finance careers. Modern graduates have a clear vision for their professional lives and are demanding more from employers – also in terms of remuneration- as they pursue their primary goals.

This is confirmed by a new report entitled Generation Y: Realising the Potential from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Mercer, the human resource consultancy, which founds that remuneration is important to this age group and they seek out competitive packages. But they also want a good contractual package –money, work-life balance, and working for an attractive brand that reflects their own values. This is the case within both mainstream finance professions such as accountancy, as well as alternative careers in the sector.

Up to half of young professionals questioned said they harbour concerns over training provision and the career development opportunities available to them. Increasingly, human capital will be the primary source of competitive differentiation. Its value will be created by people, ideas and the brand of the organization. This means that unless employers make adequate provision in these areas, they could end-up struggling to hold on to the brightest and best within their workforce. Employers need to put career development at the heart of their proposition to make them attractive to Generation Y. Contrary to popular perception, the survey shows this is a generation who value job security but are prepared to leave if career promises are not fulfilled.

Managing the career expectations, thinking creatively about how they can offer roles and greater career path variation and being transparent about career development will hence be key to delivering on the career promise.

This report should provide a wake up call to employers of finance professionals to embrace the career aspirations of the youngest generation and offer dynamic career routes that capitalise on their finance skills. If employers get this wrong, there’s a significant risk of losing future talent, particularly if global economic conditions start improving.

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