Pakistan’s recent census 2017 has revealed a staggering population of 210 million and according to the UN population fund report, 63% or 132 million are between the ages of 18 and 33. Out of this 69 million are 15 or under and 58 million between 20 to 24, acoording to ACCA. For Pakistan, the need for creating and sustaining employment for its pipeline of millennials is turning into a ticking time bomb.
The rapid adoption of technology by millennials means that they are more familiar with searching for information online, communicating and networking through social media, they want to move on very quickly, in other words, their behaviour is very different to past generations who relied upon reading vast amounts of content, face to face conversations, writing by hand and having a job for life. On the other hand, we have employees and their needs. “The discourse at the roundtable in Faisalabad on 25 September is around the 2 groups’ employers and millennials or generation next and whether they are aligned? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?” Said Shah Muhammad Khan, ACCA Business Development Manager for Faisalabad.
Those organizations that are actively understanding and changing to attract and retain the best millennials are also recognizing that customers are also passing through technological changes. The accountancy profession is not any different, it attracts many young people but it’s probably the one sector that has experienced the most profound technological changes, in my own lifetime we have moved away from really back bending cross-casting, reconciliations and multiple ticking to automation, cloud services and there are serious chances that the work of accountant will be completely automated by 2030. So how is the profession going to save itself? The good news is that regulations and compliance will continue, risk management, analysis and thinking about the future will still need to be performed by humans.
Why should a young bright person enter the accounting profession if it’s going to be like entering a time tunnel and taking one back to Dickensian days? Certainly, in Pakistan, the environment not only of some SMPs, SMEs but many larger organizations have still not understood and embraced the technological change and its impact on behaviors and the external environment. When ACCA surveyed 2458 young people under the age of 36 results were in line with global trends. Young Pakistanis choose accounting and finance because (i) want a long-term career (ii) they want to develop and a broad range of skills. Young Pakistanis do see the sector as prestigious whereas globally this feeling ranked 5th out the 5 factors.
Does the profession offer enough opportunity for mobility?
Arif Masud Mirza, Regional Head of Policy for ACCA said “ ACCA Pakistan organized the roundtable discussion with SMP and SME owner-managers in Faisalabad, to gather opinion and feedback on (i) What are the key challenges they face in terms of talent attraction, development, and retention?(ii) Do they think the same issues which SMPs face also apply for SMEs who are looking to attract, develop and retain staff? And (iii) What do they identify as the specific advantages for 18-36-year-olds working in an SMP compared with another finance sector (e.g. larger corporate firms, Big Four etc.)?”
65% have only been in their current roles for 3 years or less. But the chart illustrates and strong mobility trend. Young people in SMEs and SMPs are more likely to see their next move outside the organization.
For a generation who have grown up with significant advances in technology, it is perhaps not surprising they see benefits from the increasing adoption of new technologies in the workplace. Employers need to harness this passion for technology internally and externally in their B2C and B2B commercial relations.
“Savvy employers are aware of young candidates making their own personal brands on social media. CFOs and HR functions will often visit the LinkedIn pages of young people which may provide more insights on their attitude, soft skills, and EQ,” said Shah Muhammad Khan, ACCA ’s Business Development Manager for Faisalabad.