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The Importance of UP-SKILLING Young Professionals

|Jul 23|magazine13 min read

A research report into understanding the motivations of today’s Young Professionals, commissioned by CPA Australia, has revealed valuable insights and clear messages for employers, parents and politicians in the lead-up to the federal election. 

The clearest message from the CPA Australia Young Professionals Research Report shows that Australia’s young professionals ‘Want it all, but we want it on our terms’ with personalised options for their needs. They expect organisations to value their career and personal goals in equal measure, recognising them as time-poor individuals with many demanding roles, within and beyond their work life.

Ambition, self-doubt and competitiveness is carefully measured against flexibility and work-life balance.

Upon understanding more about what drives young people, CPA Australia has refined the CPA foundation level of the CPA Program. Foundation level is a stepping-stone to assist formalising an employee’s training and to give them a pathway to become a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA). The foundation level is designed to let those enrolled do things on their terms by providing both flexibility and convenience through choosing their study and exam timelines and distance learning.

Rob Thomason, Executive General Manager, Business Development, CPA Australia comments, “CPA Australia works alongside a diverse range of organisations from large blue chip companies to local Councils and we find one of the biggest challenges facing managers today is attracting and retaining key staff. In the research we can see that staff don’t want to be left behind but want to keep up with their peers and differentiate themselves, whilst having access to mentors and networks.  It’s as much about their journey as their destination today.”

Thomason said that understanding what drives young professionals and providing up-skilling opportunities with flexibility and convenience is beneficial for all. “Employees want more guidance and organisations stand to reap ongoing benefits by assisting staff to formalise their training. Teams that train together, work better together.”

“As a result of the research, CPA Australia better understands the mix of ambition, personalisation and mentoring that young people are asking for within the accounting industry.  We’ve applied this knowledge to the foundation level and know it will go some way in helping fill the need for highly trained professional accounting and finance staff in Australia,” Thomason concludes.

The desire to differentiate themselves in a competitive workplace becomes more pronounced after the first few years in the workforce. They are more likely to be worried about housing affordability and personal finances than crime rates and the economy.

The report uncovered the key needs and mindsets across employees in their twenties and thirties to be >>>

  • Work-life balance:  Family and health are priorities
  • Financial security: Comfortable work and family life to maintain a successful life
  • Recognition of the whole person:  Support from workplace in reaching career and personal goals
  • Inspiration:  New thinking and development of new skills
  • Choices:  They need the organisation to consider them as a time-poor individual with various roles and responsibilities

The report was commissioned by CPA Australia to identify ways to help guide employers to understand and assist employees, help increase output in business organisations and to reduce outsourcing. The results find that assisting staff to up-skill and formalise their qualification increases the organisation’s output, ethics and governance.

Recognising the seven themes of career needs can help organisations in up-skilling and retaining staff >>>

  1. Progression: getting to the next level, securing that promotion now
  2. Differentiation:being able to pull away from peers
  3. Personal Development: moving beyond technical proficiency to achieve the soft skills and business acumen
  4. Balance: the ‘Holy Grail’ of work-life balance, flexibility
  5. Guidance: career mentoring and life advice
  6. Technical Proficiency: ongoing industry training developments
  7. Succession Planning: providing a plan for promotions and career pathway

Melissa Mariani, Assistant Accountant at Phillip Island National Park said “We have a small team so my role is very varied and hands on. I’m not just looking at numbers and putting it in a report so further education was essential for me. Working on Phillip Island distance was an issue but the foundation level allowed the flexibility I needed. Not only did I gain additional knowledge but confidence in the knowledge I’d already acquired through my work.

“One day I’d like to be the Financial Controller (for Phillip Island National Park), and the foundation level will definitely help me progress my career.” continued Ms Mariani.

The report gathered insights from employers and young professionals who were transitioning from tertiary education into their first years of employment.

For more information, visit: www.cpaaustralia.com.au/foundationlevel