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No to Remote Work

A new study has found that finance professionals in the Caribbean strongly prefer to work from the office rather than engage in either remote or a hybrid work arrangement. The study, ACCA’s Global Talent Trends in The Americas 2023, found that the pandemic did not move Caribbean financial professionals towards hybrid and remote working as it did in many other parts of the world. In fact, it pointed out that, unlike across North America where only 17 per cent of finance professionals are fully office-based, in the Caribbean that figure is multiples higher at 63 per cent. One Caribbean round-table participant agreed that working from home is easier but suggested there are other elements to weigh.

“I lose probably three hours getting to and from the office so it’s more productive to me being at home,” he explained. “But the problem with that is that sometimes you need the collaboration.” However, for those who have adopted hybrid or remote working, the research shows heightened levels of satisfaction across various factors, including employee well-being support and job security. The research, which also examines key talent considerations in the workplace in the Americas, shines a light on the world of work and the many ways in which it has evolved for employees and employers. Mental health concerns and the impact of inflation on real wages are some of the leading issues specifically examined in the research, which also analyses working patterns in the Caribbean.

The overwhelming majority of employed finance professionals (96 per cent) across the Americas are also leading the globe in understanding how technology helps them add more value to their organisation and clients. There are, however, significant levels of concern around the pace of change, and many indicate they would benefit from more training from their employer on technology. Almost four in five professionals (77 per cent) indicated that they would like their employer to provide them with more training on technology, and one in three (34 per cent) are concerned that technology will replace part or all their role – indicating there is still work to be done in assessing the impact of technology on financial professionals.

Shelly-Ann Mohammed, ACCA head of Caribbean & South America, said: “Overall, there is a lot to be positive about within the profession in the Caribbean but heightened mobility continues to challenge organisations, with 51 per cent planning to move to their next role within the next 12 months [and] raising steeply to 74 per cent within the next two years. Employers must continue to find ways to attract and retain talent to service the growing demands of the profession.”

Giving voice to the fears of a talent crunch, one Caribbean round-table participant said, “We’re concerned about being able to attract new talent to the profession, and this may create a real problem in the longer term.” The report also uncovers concerns relating to burnout, with mental health challenges ranking amongst the top three work concerns for the financial profession in the Caribbean. A total of 85 per cent stated they would like a better work-life balance, and over two thirds (68 per cent) indicated they would like more support from their organisation in managing their mental health.

The findings of the study can be useful for individual accountants to gauge their own experience and sentiment against those of their peers, as well as determining self-action. Employers can use the findings to inform their talent management and employee support strategies, while those with a vested interest in developing a skilled workforce would find them useful in providing an indicator of future trends that could be used to inform education, and employment policies and strategies.