The future of accounting talent: career values, choices and satisfaction among early career accountants

Denise Jackson*, Julia Richardson, Grant Michelson, Rahat Munir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Amid a global war for accounting talent, this paper extends our understanding of early career accountants’ (ECAs) career values and the alignment between their career expectations and experiences when entering the profession. Drawing on survey data from 305 ECAs and 165 managers/recruiters of ECAs in Australia, the paper uses social cognitive career theory and person–organisation fit theory to explore the dynamic interplay between individual and contextual factors and career values, career choices and subsequent career satisfaction. The findings emphasise the importance of both intrinsic, and to a lesser extent extrinsic, career values for ECAs, with variations by gender and organisation setting. ECAs and managers identified different perceptions of attractors to diverse organisational settings. While ECAs were generally satisfied with their careers, satisfaction varied by organisation type. Intrinsic career values were positively associated with ECAs’ career satisfaction, along with age and closer alignment between career expectations and experiences. Our analyses suggest implications for the recruitment and retention of new accounting talent and calls to engage with individual and contextual influences on career values, experiences and satisfaction. Specifically, the paper highlights how different organisations can tailor their strategies to better attract and retain early career accountants to support more sustainable careers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-406
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Accounting Review
Issue number4
Early online date5 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Australian Accounting Review published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of CPA Australia. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • career values
  • career satisfaction
  • social cognitive career theory
  • person-organisation fit
  • early career professional


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