About 40% of accountants working in financial services in the City of London would like to change jobs within the next six months, according to a survey published by Robert Half International (RHI), the recruitment consultant.
One reason is that they are nervous of being made redundant in the current economic uncertainty and would like to move to more secure positions, said Steve Carter, UK managing director at RHI.
This uncertainty was particularly marked among venture capital divisions as investment in dot-coms grinds to a halt, said Carter.
He added that this pointed to a difference in perception between employers and employees, as the former were not planning to cut back on staff more than necessary.
Carter said: "They are cutting back on areas where they can trim some fat but are not touching the bone."
He said another reason accountants were keen to move jobs was pay. Respondents to the survey were expecting on average to receive not more than a 5% increase in basic salary at their next review. However they might receive more than that if they found another job, Carter said.
He said accountants' salaries in financial services firms in the City Of London were about the same as a year ago in computer audit, product control, management accounting and systems accounting.
Those working in financial control were earning more, however. Last year, newly qualified accountants in that field with an ACA qualification were earning between 35,000 and 42,000. This year the figures are 42,000 to 48,000.
Accountants with four or more years experience and ACA qualifications in financial control were earning 55,000-plus last year. This had now increased to 58,000-plus.
The survey also found that among a wide range of employers including financial services companies, share option schemes for accountants had become less common. Only 21% operated them this year, down from 33% last year.
The survey was conducted by the market research company Kadence between January and March 2001.