We have recently concluded a salary survey of qualified Chartered Accountants in India. We hope that this will serve as a guide to both our clients and candidates who are looking for opportunities to work in Africa.
The results of our survey can be clearly seen on the chart below;
The results show that the median wage for a Chartered Accountant with one years post qualification experience is US$ 12,222 at current exchange rates (US$ 1 = INR 45) increasing to US$ 32,000 for someone with more than 9 years experience.
An interesting finding is that as the number of years experience increases, there is a greater divergence in the salaries earned amongst the same peer group. Hence, there is a very large variation in salaries for accountants who have more than 9 years experience.
The variations in salary arise from differences in geographical location within India, with those candidates working in the larger metros earning substantially higher salaries than those in smaller towns. For the accountants working in smaller towns, costs of living are naturally lower, hence the end result may well be a similar level of savings as their counterparts in the metros.
What does this mean for companies in Africa who are looking to recruit accountants? Well, firstly it suggests that many companies need to re-assess their salary scales to account for the increased salaries being paid for talent in India itself. Secondly, companies need to attract candidates based not only on higher savings potential, but on the advantages of working in Africa and the increased exposure it provides.
For candidates looking to move to Africa, they may find that the earnings back in India are now comparable to the offers they may receive for overseas postings. Hence, as opposed to the past, the consideration now is more about the opportunity to work in a new exciting multicultural work environment, than perhaps just an increase in salary.
Salary scales in Africa for expatriate accountants have been rising to try and remain attractive, however there is a limit to what companies can afford. Hence, the focus now will be more on implementation of IT systems, such as ERP systems and an attempt to reduce the need for so many accountants, by utilising more local staff. Hence, the final outcome may well be that there are less jobs available for expatriates in Africa, but those that are available, will be more highly paid.