UK management accountants expect 4% pay rise in 2018

A pay increase is expected for 81% of UK management accountants in the coming year, according to a new salary survey conducted by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. The average increase respondents expected was 4%. This was above inflation, which stands at 2.9%, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Over the past year, 79% of Association members in the UK received a pay rise, on average of 3%.

The survey found that CGMA designation holders in the UK earn an average basic wage of £62,000 ($82,229) per year. Those members who receive a bonus (67% of those polled) were expecting an average award of 10% of salary.

Salaries and working patterns vary around the country. In London, average annual salaries for members stand at £76,000 ($100,839), and those who expect to receive a bonus expect on average 11% of salary. In Manchester, respondents reported an average salary of £54,000 ($71,645) and in Birmingham £59,000 ($78,279).

Members based in London were also more likely to look for a new job in the next two years (61%). They reported the longest working week in the UK, with an average of 47 hours, compared to 41 hours in Manchester and 42 in Birmingham, the next largest cities. The average working week around the UK was 42 hours.

The job titles with the highest salaries attached were director, chief operating officer, and partner. These post holders earn an average of £98,000 ($130,018). They were followed by chief financial officers, £92,000 ($122,058), and finance director, £85,000 ($112,794).

Highest-paying sectors

Sector Average annual salary reported by UK members
Banking £77,000
Consultancy/professional services £74,000
Financial services £70,000
Media, marketing, advertising, and PR £70,000
ICT, technology, and telecoms £67,000
Legal £65,000
Construction and property £65,000
Healthcare and pharmaceutical £64,000
Business process outsourcing/shared services £62,000
Oil, gas, and alternative energy £62,000
Travel, tourism, and leisure £62,000

Source: Association of International Certified Professional Accountants 2017 salary survey.

Members at the CFO level deemed broad experience of working in different departments and in-depth knowledge of a number of them, as well as continuing to acquire new skills and knowledge, to be the most important factors in enhancing their career progression. Those in the post of management accountant shared those priorities, but they placed acquiring new skills and knowledge at the top of the list.

Strategic skills remain high on the agenda

In the coming year, CGMA designation holders in the UK are most keen to develop their strategy skills, cited by 37% of respondents. This has been a prime concern for management accountants in recent years, with at least 31% of respondents planning to work on it in each edition of the survey since 2014.  

Driving the performance of their business was a priority for 33%, and 28% plan to develop their influencing skills. Coaching and mentoring and project management skills were on the agenda for 26% of respondents.

For 74%, this learning will be gained on the job. Forty-five per cent will look to a mentor to help them build these skills, and 36% plan to attend a training course in person.

Career moves

Fifty per cent of UK respondents who are CGMA holders intend to change jobs within the next two years. Financial reward was the biggest motivator for the change, cited by 60%. The scope of the role was a factor for 39%, and prospects for promotion drive 36%.

Employers seeking to retain their finance talent may be interested to discover respondents’ top motivators in their current role: financial reward (cited by 52%), flexibility and work/life balance (51%), challenging workload (41%), and good working environment (41%).

Members can access more data from the survey and compare their remuneration package to those of counterparts in their country, industry, or level of experience using the Association’s online salary calculator.

The 2017 salary survey was conducted between April 19th and May 27th. About 6,200 members from around the world participated.

In the wider UK market for finance talent, “salaries have remained steady despite the ongoing market uncertainty,” observed Lee Owen, senior business director, Hays Accountancy & Finance. “Employers are showing signs of caution, however, they are more optimistic than 12 months ago following the referendum result.”

New functional roles are being created as medium-size organisations become increasingly complex, and new systems and processes are being integrated. “As a result, these organisations require professionals experienced in multifaceted businesses or overseeing change projects, often with strong IT skills,” Owen added.

When it comes to core skills, employers looking to hire accountancy and finance professionals prioritise communication, flexibility/adaptability, and problem-solving, he added.

Owen has seen signs of salary increases in areas with skills that are in short supply. These include part-qualified and newly qualified accountants, payroll officers, audit and risk professionals, and candidates within the chartered profession, he noted.

Samantha White (samantha.white@aicpa-cima.com) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.