Liz Fisher, journalist

A major new survey from ACCA highlights concerns among finance professionals in China about a range of workplace issues, including the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into finance functions, and diversity and inclusion policies in their organisations.

Global talent trends 2024 examines the views of almost 10,000 finance professionals in 157 countries and explores six main themes that are dominating the workplace, including the cost of living and changing work patterns.

Respondents in China are more likely to be worried about their career development opportunities


The views of respondents on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and practices is examined in detail. Respondents in every region agree strongly that EDI practices are an important factor when choosing an employer, but 55% of respondents based in China say their own organisation focuses more on some aspects of diversity than others – a higher proportion than in any other region. More than four in 10, for example, say that their organisation is biased towards recruiting younger people.

Respondents in China are also more likely to believe that a disadvantaged socio-economic background is a barrier to progression in their organisation. Half of all respondents in China agreed with this, compared with just 28% in India and 34% globally.

The survey uncovers dissatisfaction among finance professionals in China – which is mirrored to some extent in many other regions – for a variety of reasons. While respondents in China are less likely than others to be dissatisfied with their pay (44% are unhappy with their current salary, compared with 55% globally) they are more likely to be worried about their career development opportunities with their current employer.

Poor career opportunities were identified as the biggest single workplace concern by Chinese respondents – 41% named it a top three concern – followed by fears that a global recession would impact career opportunities. Overall, just 47% of respondents in China are satisfied with their current opportunities.

77% would like more support from their employer on mental health

The pressures

The pace of change of technology, and the impact of AI on finance roles, is a major concern for finance professionals across the world. Respondents in China are generally less worried than others about the pace of change – 42% say that they feel anxious about this, compared with 60% of respondents in India. However, a high proportion (61%) are concerned about the impact of AI on their own role, compared with 51% of all respondents.

There was a mixed message from respondents in China about some of the workplace issues that concern them. While 56% say their mental health suffers because of work pressures (just below the global average of 57%), 77% say they would like more support from their employer on mental health (well above the global average of 63%). The worrying statistic for employers, though, is that 40% have considered resigning from their job because of wellbeing issues.

Dissatisfaction with career opportunities and the pressing need to develop the right skills for a digital workplace are persuading finance professionals in many regions to explore their options with new employers, sectors and geographies. 47% of respondents in China want to move on to their next role within two years, with the same number expecting to move to a new employer.

Many are hoping to move to a better-paying sector, including large corporate firms, financial services and the Big Four.

Most respondents who are thinking of moving to a new employer say that salary and career development are their main priorities, but work-life balance is also a factor.

74% of respondents in China are office-based because their employer requires it

Work location

In China, 64% of respondents currently work in an office (the global average is 52%), while 30% have a hybrid arrangement and 6% work remotely. But when asked which working pattern they would prefer, just 13% of respondents in China want to be office-based, and 78% would rather work on a hybrid basis.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents in China who are office-based say they are there because their employer requires it, but clearly do not feel it benefits their productivity; 47% say they feel disengaged from their manager when working remotely and 62% think their managers need to develop new skills to manage them more effectively when working remotely.

This suggests that a better balance of remote and office working may become a powerful tool in attracting and retaining talent in China and elsewhere.

More information

See AB’s overview of the report’s global findings; the global survey results are also available separately.

See also the findings from respondents in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia, the UK, Europe and Eurasia, Africa, and North America and the Caribbean.