Gen Z anticipates a shifting workplace: IFAC and ACCA report


Gen Z accounting students anticipate a shifting business landscape as they enter the profession, according to a joint report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the International Federation of Accountants.

The report, “Groundbreakers: Gen Z and the future of accountancy,” utilized data from 9,000 polled 18 to 25-year-olds around the world. The majority of those surveyed were from the Asia Pacific and South Asia regions, female and ACCA students studying for their accounting/finance qualifications.

Of those polled, 58% of respondents cited their job security as a chief concern as they begin their careers. Another 64% said they expect to have multiple careers across multiple disciplines in the future, and 47% believe a broad range of skills is the “key attraction factor for accountancy.”

“This 18 – 25-year-old age group of Gen Z is smart, connected, ambitious yet realistic — but they have concerns about the future and how business operates,” said Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, in the report’s foreword. “What we see from this research is young people at the outset of their accountancy careers keen to play their part in economic renewal. They’ll bring their talents and aspirations into the workplace and, through them, transform the future of accountancy for the modern world. Employers of all sizes need to be aware of this generation’s hopes and ambitions and the value they can bring.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, unsurprisingly, also had a big impact on Gen Z’s career outlooks. The report notes that the last year compounded fears based on “job opportunities and security, well-being and mental health. … [which] rank significantly higher … than issues impacting wider society such as climate change, and inclusivity and equality.”

“Shaped by economic crises, the current climate emergency, and most recently the global pandemic, Generation Z is coming of age during a very difficult and challenging period in global history,” said Kevin Dancey, CEO of IFAC, in the report’s foreword. “Leaders of Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs), global network firms, and industry, not only have an opportunity to welcome this new generation of accountancy leaders into our organizations, but to actively learn from them. Although no one knows exactly what the future may hold, one thing is for certain: Generation Z accountancy professionals have a critical role to play in our future.”

Other notable findings from the report include:

  • 57% of Gen Z respondents expect to change roles within two years.
  • 91% expect to update or grow their skills to remain employable.
  • 57% say they are concerned about the impact of technology on their own job opportunities.
  • 81% say their peers value prestigious job titles or pay.
  • 48% consider work-life balance to be a key factor in their employment.

For the full report, head to IFAC’s site here.

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