Economic headwinds and the breakneck speed of technological development have made robust finance functions staffed with cutting-edge professionals ever more critical to organisations. 

However, talent shortages have plagued the finance sector since the pandemic and the candidate pool has shrunk considerably. Against this backdrop, we have also seen a wave of finance professionals changing roles – a part of the trend termed ‘The Great Resignation’ – and steep wage inflation of around 15% over the past year

But what is motivating so many finance professionals to seek new jobs? And is turnover an ongoing challenge for employers? For the answers to these questions and many more, read on as we discuss the ground-breaking results of our global survey of 70,000 white collar workers.  

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How many finance workers are looking for new roles?

While many have speculated that the worst of The Great Resignation is over, our data shows something different: an enormous 88% of finance professionals are currently open to new opportunities. 

Choppy economic waters have not dampened this sentiment. In fact, 51% of finance respondents said they are more likely to look for a new job when the economy is performing poorly. 

It’s clear that a substantial shift has occurred in the workforce, with company loyalty on the decline. This poses a major retention challenge for hiring managers and employers. 

Luckily, our survey also highlighted the three key things professionals are looking for from their employers. 

The Work-Life Equation: Pay + flexibility + career progression

Company loyalty is down and the workforce’s heightened demands of employers are here to stay, our report suggests. This is the essence of ‘The Invisible Revolution’, which we detail in our report. 

One important thing to note is that, like workers in other sectors, finance professionals are prioritising work-life balance. In fact, 61% of finance respondents said that work-life balance was the most important influence on their job satisfaction. 

So, what components comprise a desirable work-life balance in 2023? Our survey suggests that pay, flexibility, and career progression are the three most important factors for candidates and employees – together, these form what we call the Work-Life Equation. Below, we look at each in depth and give our top recommendations for how employers should approach them. 


Salary was the top reason cited for resigning for a role, as well as the number one factor for accepting a new role. It was also voted the most important item in a job advert.

While employers have traditionally used perks and additional benefits to make a compensation package more attractive, this is a timely reminder that a competitive salary remains a must-have. 

Finance professionals are keenly aware of their worth on the job market, and keen to monetise their time as effectively as possible. With that said, a high salary elsewhere will often be enough to prompt a worker to make a move – even if they enjoy their current role. Indeed, 46% of all respondents said they would choose a good salary over career satisfaction.

Ultimately, following The Great Resignation, workers are taking a much more transactional approach to employment, and salary has increased in importance as a result. 

Employers are certainly feeling the effect of this shift in attitude, with 63% of those we surveyed saying that matching salary expectations was their single biggest recruitment challenge.

Our recommendation: Benchmark your finance salaries

As candidates and employees place more emphasis on salary, employers should ensure they are aware of the pay packages offered by competitors and that their benchmarking is accurate. 

The Michael Page 2023 Finance Salary Guide and the Audit, Tax, and Treasury Salary Guide reveal how much employers are paying for different roles across different UK locations, and what a high, medium, and low salary looks like for each role in each location. 

Once employers are confident in their benchmarking, they should review the salaries of their employees, and ensure pay is transparent and clearly visible in job adverts. Organisations could also review any employee benefits that are under-utilised and consider whether this budget could be better spent on boosting salaries. Start hiring top talent today


Following the shift to remote working during the pandemic, flexibility is now viewed less as a perk than a standard element of an appealing role.

This is highlighted by the findings of our report. Work-life balance emerged as the most significant influencer of job satisfaction, with 60% of respondents selecting it as a top priority. In fact, it ranked higher than pay at 43%, or relationships with co-workers at 40%. Work-life balance was important to all age groups, across all markets, and to people both with and without children.

What types of flexibility should employers be offering to their finance professionals? In our survey, 79% of finance respondents named hybrid working as one of the most important aspects of flexibility, while 71% listed flexible hours. 

Our recommendation: Prioritise flexibility of all kinds

Most finance teams now practice a degree of flexible working – but as this is now standard, a one-size-fits-all flexible working policy may not help you stand out from the crowd. 

Instead, consult your workforce. What elements of flexible working matter most to them? It may be hybrid working, remote working, flexible hours, additional annual leave, or something else entirely. Progressive policies such as a four-day work week will also be sure to catch the attention of top talent looking for employers that truly value work-life balance. 

Remember, genuine flexibility is built on trust. Attempting to implement rigid rules around flexible working policies will undo a lot of your progress.

Career progression

Traditionally, employees would have aimed to stay at an organisation for most if not all of their careers. But our report reveals that ‘job hopping’ – quickly moving from one position to another to gain seniority and a higher salary – is a common and growing practice. 

One effective way for employers to combat the retention challenge this poses is to offer clear opportunities for progression. Yet our data shows that employers underestimate the importance of career growth to employees by 10%.

Our recommendation: Offer clear progression pathways

The newly-empowered worker is now evaluating what their employer is offering compared to competitors’ packages. In a competitive talent market, career progression can be the differentiator employers need. 

Make sure that pathways to progression are clear to all workers from day one of their employment, with milestones and targets along the way to promotion. And, as the rapid pace of digital transformation impacts finance teams, upskilling has become another valuable method of progression, one bound to be appreciated by finance professionals at all stages of their careers, from analysts to CFOs

It’s also important to ensure managers are aware that personal development must now be more of a priority, and are equipped to support this.

Access the world’s largest talent study today

PageGroup's 2023 Talent Trends Report uncovers the most profound shift in work culture since the arrival of the internet. 

Surveying almost 70,000 people from around the world, this is the most robust and comprehensive study of skilled white-collar professionals globally. It deep dives into the priorities of workers in different sectors, across different generations, and at different stages of their careers. 

Find out how your workforce’s priorities have shifted, why, and how to build robust teams in this challenging recruitment landscape. Get the data and inside information you need to not just survive this monumental cultural shift – but to thrive in it.

Download 'Talent Trends: The Invisible Revolution' here

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