In my last column, I recounted how a mix-up in pay envelopes some 25 years ago resulted in my learning that an unqualified superior was making more than three times what I was.

What I omitted in that retelling however, was how just one week before, the company informed us raises that year would be meager if not non-existent.

Roughly three weeks later, I was employed somewhere else at a higher salary. The wisdom of that decision was affirmed when my soon-to-be-former employer never bothered to find out my new pay scale, or, raise a finger in the spirit of a counter offer.

I’ve often reflected on that unfortunate episode and wondered had they matched the money I would soon receive, would I have remained?

The answer was probably “no,” since they apparently didn’t care too much about me before I resigned, so why would take the time to mentor me or place me on a career advancement path had I decided to stay.

I think of that scenario at a time when “Help Wanted” is the mantra echoing throughout the accounting profession coupled with the results of a  recent survey that suggests maybe salary isn’t always the “closer” people think it is during the recruiting process.

A study conducted by the Private Companies Practice Section of the American Institute of CPAs revealed a slight disconnect between what firm partners think influences a new hire’s decision to join and subsequently stay, with a firm, and what young professionals identify as critical factors in their employment decisions.

The PCPS surveyed some 645 partners and 646 younger professionals from a total of 600 firms. The study found that, 93 percent of partners polled said salary was the top motivator to join a firm, while 80 percent of those younger professionals indicated advancement as a primary factor. In fact, salary was No. 3 on their list, while the partners ranked career growth at No. 4 on their roster.

According to the survey, the top five reasons new talent joins a firm are: growth opportunities, paid personal/vacation time, salary, respect for the company mission statement, and, interesting and challenging projects.

By contrast, the partners responded in order with: salary, medical benefits, paid personal/vacation time, growth opportunities and paid overtime.

Clearly, each demographic has their own opinion on job priorities, and unquestionably, each list is comprised of some top hiring influencers.
But remember, it’s a buyer’s market out there and in that climate, it’s near impossible to argue the law of supply and demand.

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