Home Articles “It’s not about the money money money…” Australia’s young professionals sing

“It’s not about the money money money…” Australia’s young professionals sing


Unlike their older peers who took pride in totally immersing themselves in their jobs as long as the money was right, today’s young professionals are driven by different motivations.

Understand these motivations and voila, the young guns will be clamouring to join your company. And with their fresh vitality and focus, who doesn’t want young blood on their team huh?

Now CPA Australia recently commissioned a report. The aim of this report was to find out what drives the young professionals, their career goals and expectations: basically, what makes them tick.

From this CPA Australia Young Professionals Research Report, the message from Australia’s young professionals is loud and clear: “We want it all but, we want it on our terms.”

They expect organisations to value their career and personal goals in equal measure, recognising them as time-poor individuals with many demanding roles, within and beyond their work life.

In other words, they are deliberately refusing to make the same choices as their parents by sacrificing work-life balance. And they expect organisations to embrace this as well.

So are organisations embracing this? Well, CPA for one is leading by example. Upon understanding more about what drives young people, CPA Australia has refined the foundation level of their CPA Program.

Foundation level is a stepping-stone to assist formalising an employee’s training and to give them a pathway to become a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA). It is designed to let those enrolled do things on their terms by providing both flexibility and convenience through choosing their study and exam timelines and distance learning.

Mr Rob Thomason, Executive General Manager, Business Development, CPA Australia comments, “As a result of the research, CPA Australia better understands the mix of ambition, personalisation and mentoring that young people are asking for within the accounting industry. We’ve applied this knowledge to the foundation level and know it will go some way in helping fill the need for highly trained professional accounting and finance staff in Australia.”

“Staff do not want to be left behind but want to keep up with their peers and differentiate themselves, whilst having access to mentors and networks. It’s as much about their journey as their destination today,” Mr Thomason added.

Mr Thomason also highlighted that understanding what drives young professionals and providing up-skilling opportunities with flexibility and convenience is beneficial for all.

“Employees want more guidance and organisations stand to reap ongoing benefits by assisting staff to formalise their training. Teams that train together, work better together,” Mr Thomason explains.

What are the motivations of Australia’s young professionals?

The report uncovered the following as the key needs and mindsets across employees in their twenties and thirties.

  • Work-life balance: Family and health are priorities. They are not about to work themselves into a coma or choose the office over their kid’s birthday party on the weekend.
  • Financial security: Comfortable work and family life to maintain a successful life. Money may not be everything to them, but don’t get it twisted, it still matters.
  • Recognition of the whole person: They expect support from their workplace in achieving both their career and personal goals.
  • Inspiration: New thinking and development of new skills. Young people easily get bored so they need to be kept on their toes with fresh ideas and concepts.
  • Choices: They need the organisation to recognise that they have other roles and responsibilities beyond the workplace, which require their attention too.

Furthermore, recognising and understanding the seven themes of career needs can help your organisation in retaining staff, especially the young professionals.

  1. Progression: Getting to the next level, securing that promotion now
  2. Differentiation: Being able to pull away from peers
  3. Personal development: Gaining more than just technical proficiency to business acumen too
  4. Balance: The ‘Holy Grail’ of work-life balance, flexibility
  5. Guidance: Career mentoring and life advice
  6. Technical Proficiency: Ongoing industry training developments
  7. Succession Planning: Providing a plan for promotions and career pathway

So, you now know that money alone just won’t cut it. You have to deliver the whole package.