Wealth and Safety: Which Parts of the World Offer the Biggest Earnings-And the Greatest Job Security? Michelle Taylor Reports on CIMA's Global Membership Survey

By Taylor, Michelle | Financial Management (UK), September 2009 | Go to article overview

Wealth and Safety: Which Parts of the World Offer the Biggest Earnings-And the Greatest Job Security? Michelle Taylor Reports on CIMA's Global Membership Survey


Taylor, Michelle, Financial Management (UK)


With FCMAs earning an average of 54 per cent more than ACMAs and 169 per cent more than CIMA students around the world, there has never been a better time to get qualified--and upgrade your membership.

In May the institute surveyed 1,807 of its members in eight key markets--Australia, the eurozone, Ireland, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the UK--to establish a reliable benchmark of earnings and career measures. The best-paying locations are Colombo, Dublin, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London (and south-east England) and Sydney. The highest salaries can typically be found in technology; telecoms and utilities; natural resources; and fuel/energy sectors.

The average salary for CIMA members in each of the regions covered by the survey can be seen on the map below. Comparing the results of this research against February's student salary survey (see "Cash questions", June), it is clear that gaining the qualification is financially beneficial, particularly for those who have progressed to FCMA status. The difference between the average student salary and the average member salary varies from region to region (see table 1), but on a global basis FCMAs are earning 169 per cent more than students on average.

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The survey has also confirmed the continuing presence of a significant pay gap between the sexes (see table 2, next page). Globally, male members earn a third more than their female counterparts on average. This difference increases in Malaysia and the eurozone, where men are earning over 40 per cent more than women. In contrast, Hong Kong is the only market where there is parity. In addition to basic earnings, bonus payments also vary substantially between the sexes. For men, the average on-target-earnings bonus anticipated in 2009 is 9.9 per cent as a percentage of salary, compared with 7.9 per cent for women.

The average bonus globally equates to nine per cent of salary. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of members are expecting to receive a bonus this year, compared with 57 per cent of students. Australia has the highest proportion of respondents not expecting to receive a bonus (44 per cent) and South Africa has the lowest (25 per cent). Members in South Africa and Sri Lanka expect their bonuses to be the largest as a proportion of their basic salaries: 11 per cent on average.

It isn't all about money, of course. Members are also confident about keeping their jobs despite the global recession. Nine out of ten respondents believe they are secure in their jobs over the coming 12 months. Sri Lankan members are the most bullish, with 65 per cent saying they are absolutely confident and a further 28 per cent fairly confident. South Africans are also feeling particularly assured, with 60 per cent absolutely confident in their job security and 35 per cent fairly confident. Members in the eurozone (including Ireland) are the least confident about avoiding redundancy.

Members are also aware of the constant need to update and expand their skills. Like the students surveyed by CIMA, they appreciate that they will require more than technical competence in order to advance their careers. They rate leadership skills as the most important attributes to develop over the coming year (44 per cent of respondents), while influencing skills (38 per cent) and strategic planning and implementation skills (37 per cent) are also highly rated. Risk management appears to be of particular concern to FCMAs, perhaps reflecting their greater role in corporate governance.

Members are prepared to put in some hard graft to achieve their goals, with the global average working week being 44.3 hours. The typical working week for half of all respondents is 41 to 50 hours; 12 per cent work between 51 and 60 hours; and four per cent put in more than 60 hours. A 35-to 40-hour week is typical for 29 per cent of respondents, while three per cent work fewer than 35 hours. …

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