Retaining millennials is becoming an increasing problem for employers throughout the world. High employee turnover disrupts an organisation’s productivity levels and also has a negative impact on financial performance.
By reducing employee turnover, organisations are able to be more competitive in the market. Studies have shown that employee turnover disrupts productivity-related outcomes and has a negative effect on an organisation’s financial performance. Therefore, in order to improve employee retention levels, it is important for organisations to understand what drives job satisfaction among millennials.
It has been suggested that millennials ‘want it all’ and ‘want it now’ in terms of good pay and benefits, rapid advancement, work–life balance, interesting and challenging work, and making a contribution to society. For businesses to survive and be competitive in the market, they are required to recruit the most talented individuals of the newest generations. Employers should recognise that millennials have much potential, which they have not yet fully developed. As a result, they should spend time grooming the younger generation and providing them with opportunities for work variety, challenge and personal development.
In addition to the job requirement ‘wish list’ of millennials, South Africa is currently experiencing skill shortages in the labour market as a result of the emigration of skilled employees to other countries. Skilled employees are constantly being offered well-paying jobs globally and these offers are too tempting for them to resist. Because of this, it is becoming increasingly important for South African companies to retain their skilled employees and reduce the employee turnover rate.
Owing to the important role that young CAs(SA) play in shaping the business landscape, it is important for businesses to understand what drives their levels of job satisfaction. In order to analyse this, newly qualified CAs(SA) were split into two groups, namely those employed inside and outside academia. This is due to the vast differences in the roles and responsibilities of these two groups.
It was found that CAs(SA) employed inside academia experience a significantly higher level of job satisfaction (mean of 7,961 out of 10) than their counterparts employed outside academia (mean of 6,569 out of 10). It was also found that the most important factors in an ideal job for newly qualified CAs(SA) are remuneration (salary, bonuses and employee benefits), flexibility (when and where work duties may be performed), ability to grow professionally, working hours, meaningfulness of work, and being challenged at work. CAs(SA) employed in academia experienced significantly higher levels of fulfilment in the factors discussed below.
This factor was ranked as most important by the majority of the respondents. Based on the results it was found that the median gross monthly salary of newly qualified CAs(SA) employed in academia ranges between R40 001 and R50 000, while the median gross monthly salary of newly qualified CAs(SA) employed outside academia ranges between R50 001 and R60 000. One would typically expect that individuals who are higher earners would be more satisfied with their salary. However, this theory is contradicted by the results which indicate that CAs(SA) in academia are significantly more satisfied with their salaries when compared to those outside academia.
The reason for this could be that even though CAs(SA) outside academia receive, on average, higher monthly salaries, the average monthly hours spent performing work duties are also higher. The study found that the gross salary per working hour for CAs(SA) in academia is R321,43 compared to R305,55 for those outside academia.
CAs(SA) in academia indicated a high level of satisfaction with the flexibility that their jobs provide while CAs(SA) outside academia indicated a reasonable level of satisfaction with the flexibility provided. However, the statistical difference was found to be significant.
Ability to grow professionally
The frequency of performing tasks that assist in career development and promotion opportunities are aspects that influence an individual’s ability to grow professionally. Even though there was no difference in the level of satisfaction between the two groups in terms of ability to grow professionally, both groups felt that they have few opportunities for promotion. Employers looking to increase job satisfaction in their organisation could therefore focus on guidance for promotion opportunities for newly qualified CAs(SA).
There is a significant difference in satisfaction with working hours between CAs(SA) outside academia and those in academia. Working hours was rated the fourth most important aspect in an ideal job, therefore this significant difference could explain the higher overall level of job satisfaction experienced by CAs(SA) employed in academia compared to those employed outside academia.
Meaningfulness of work
CAs(SA) employed in academia feel that the work they perform is significantly more meaningful than the work performed by those employed outside academia.
It was found that the only factor where CAs(SA) employed outside academia experience a higher level of satisfaction compared to those employed in academia was that they felt that their work-related inputs mattered more to management.
This may therefore be an area on which management at academic institutions could focus on in order to further improve job satisfaction levels of CAs(SA) employed in academia.
The outcome of this study offers useful information to organisations employing young CAs(SA) in South Africa by assisting them in creating a healthy environment for their professional staff.
AUTHOR | Nabeelah Daniels CA(SA), Lecturer: College of Accounting, University of Cape Town, and Riyaan Davids CA(SA), Lecturer: College of Accounting, University of Cape Town
Article published in the South African Journal of Accounting Research (SAJAR), 33(3), 2019. The full referenced article can be accessed at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10291954.2019.1638590. For more information contact Riyaan Davids (Riyaan.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nabeelah Daniels (Nabeelah.email@example.com)