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Skilled migration needed to meet demand for accountants

Thu, 01 Dec 2016

The Federal Government’s projected growth in the demand for accountants can only met through Skilled Migration because not enough Australian students are choosing to study accountancy. 

The Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) says universities have the capacity to educate the number of accountants required but the number of graduates is falling well short of workforce demand.

Therefore, the ABDC says, it is critical to retain the accounting profession on the Skilled Occupation List and increase the current occupational ceiling to ensure the projected demand for qualified accountants[1] is met in the medium- to long-term.

The Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) says the accounting profession is vital to the overall functioning of the Australian economy – a case also made by CPA Australia, CAANZ and various employer bodies.

However, a significant decline in Australian students undertaking accounting has been accompanied by the reduced ability of universities to direct student demand towards accounting, or provide alternative pathways into degrees, since the demand-driven system was fully introduced in 2012 and changes made to the Australian Qualifications Framework[2] in 2013.

In a submission to the Department of Education and Training, the ABDC says sought-after accounting qualifications are applied to range of professions much broader than the narrow definition of accounting in the Skilled Occupations List.

Participation, skilled employment and full-time employment of accounting graduates are all above average[3].  Many accountants are also ‘promoted out’ of the profession (as defined under the SOL) into related roles like finance manager, which employed 7.3 percent of workers, aged 25-54 with an accounting degree, at the 2011 census[4]

The ABDC says these combined factors have created an environment with relatively few qualified accountants to fill unmet labour market demand.

Any labour market shortfall in the supply of accountants will also further diminish the ability of institutions to educate new entrants into the profession b

[1], Outlook – Accountants.

[2] Australian Qualifications Framework, 2013,

[3] ABS, Census of population and housing, 2011.

[4] ABS, Census of population and housing, 2011.


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