Australian Accounting Review
School of Business and Law
This study was funded by a research grant from CPA Australia. Open access publishing facilitated by Edith Cowan University, as part of the Wiley - Edith Cowan University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.
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.
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