The state of pay

May 2023

We pick the bones out of the ‘GAAPweb 2023 Salary Survey: Findings, Revelations and Prosperity for the Accounting Profession’.

GAAPweb has launched its annual 2023 salary survey, detailing the finer points of the working lives of more than 1,300 finance professionals, from salaries and bonuses to hybrid working policies and in-demand skills.

With new-found employee expectations being brought to the forefront of the recruitment landscape, GAAPweb’s analysis reveals the impact of the past 12 months on the candidate- driven market.

This year has seen employers witness a year of financial turbulence, with pressure to provide increased remuneration and reward to attract new starters and retain loyal talent.

Some 60% of respondents received a salary increase (a 66% uplift on 2021 figures), with 51% being awarded an additional bonus.

Another year-on-year augmentation reiterates the demands of the candidate-driven market and economic pressures on businesses, with many companies offering cost-of-living payments and salary boosts to those impacted by the crisis.

Increases in salary were reported across a broad range of finance and accountancy job titles, including entry level jobs, junior roles on the hierarchical ladder, and PQ positions.

Fifty-eight per cent of accountants saw a pay increase, alongside 47% of assistant accountants and 63% of management accountants. Salary amelioration aligns with an increased bonus structure across the board, with 41% of those receiving a bonus taking home a 3%-5% supplement.

We’ve seen a soar in hybrid working, with the employer responding to the demands of the candidate. Some 68% of the GAAPweb audience were found to be in a hybrid working model, something that just over a quarter of respondents (26%) noted as the factor they valued most in their job. With a mere 1% difference between those who noted ‘salary’ (27%) as their top priority in a job, it’s clear to see the impact hybrid working has had on our work-life balance.

The ‘structured freedom’ offered to PQs and fellow accountants alike not only aids employees on a practical level, it benefits both productivity and creativity in the workplace.

Turning to industry, 2023 brings a new leader to the forefront, with the pharmaceutical industry surpassing fintech for first position. Up 19%, candidates now earn an average salary of £92,206 a year, with fintech following in a close second with an average salary of £91,905.

For those looking to switch sectors, or start their accounting venture, it’s good to note that the greatest pay increase lies with the IT and telecoms industry, with an impressive 27% uplift on 2022 figures. Regarding business type, FTSE 350 companies continue to lead the salary league, closely followed by Big 4 accountancy firms.

The competition for salary naturally adheres to external factors such as location. Not surprisingly, London retains its reputation as the highest-earning location. In first place, the average salary comes in at £78,338 across the board, with those working in Canary Wharf reaping the highest pay.

Nationally, finance professionals based in Scotland saw the greatest salary increase; a 31% elevation of 2022 figures to be exact. Aside from the North-East revealing an 11% boost, other regions across the UK saw a slight dip in average wage. Despite the widespread implementation of hybrid working, Wales saw a 9% decrease and South-east England (outside of London) saw a 5% drop.

For our PQ niche, 54% are represented by women. Whilst the challenge to achieve gender parity in senior roles continues, 2023 brings us some subtle breakthroughs, with female representation in top paying sectors demonstrating welcome movement.

Women in fintech now stands at 52%, insurance at 63% and pharmaceutical – the top paying sector – at 76%. Since the GAAPweb survey analysis began in 2018, the pay gap has narrowed by 4%. If this rate of change continues, salary parity between genders won’t be achieved until 2051. With women in PQ positions taking the lead in representation and pay, we strive to see the continuation of the trend; with PQ accountants aiding the overall goal of gender equality and pay parity.

Go to 2023 GAAPweb Salary Survey to download the full survey. View the latest Part Qualified Accountancy & Finance jobs on site.

  • Thanks to GAAPweb for this article