Why you should hire a CA with no experience

Blue Recruiting MD Graeme Marais shares why hiring a newly qualified CA is the way to go.

With many newly qualified CAs about to enter the employment market, the talent pool is set to grow significantly. Employers may be looking at the pool of available talent and wondering whether to hire a newly qualified CA or someone with a little more experience. Graeme Marais of Blue Recruiting believes hiring a newly qualified CA is the way to go.

“Some employers tend to gravitate towards hiring CAs with some post--articles experience outside of audit,” he says. However, he believes that newly qualified candidates have a lot to offer as well.

“Although there will be some extra mentorship and training required in the initial stages, newly qualified CAs bring extremely strong and up-to-date technical knowledge that can be applied to any technical aspects of the financial role you are hiring for.”

Graeme, himself a qualified CA, says hiring a newly qualified CA also makes financial sense. “As recruiters we often get asked to find a CA who has been working for about a year post-articles (outside of audit). In our experience, anyone looking to leave after one year in their first job is either not performing and struggling to keep up, or is potentially a job hopper who may jump to another job one year after being with you.”

He explains that there are, of course, exceptions to this trend, but in general it holds true.

Graeme says it is widely accepted that two years in a role is sufficient time for an employee to have honed their skills and started delivering value to their employer.

“So if we assume that post-articles experience is what you are looking for, then you should be looking for someone who has at least two years’ experience. This has a huge impact on salary. Someone with two years’ experience will probably be looking to earn at least R700,000 per annum, whereas a newly qualified CA salary should be in the region of R580,000 to R600,000. Now consider annual increases off a bigger base for the more qualified candidate, and you’re looking at a cumulative difference of almost R750,000 in salary over a five-year period.”

Apart from the financial implications, you also have the opportunity to influence your newly qualified hire far more impactfully.

“If you bring in a younger, newly qualified CA, you will be able to train them in the way that best suits your business, and engrain your company DNA right from the start of their career. This tends to enhance loyalty, reducing the likelihood that they will leave after a couple of years.”

Deciding to hire newly qualified CAs also gives you a wider selection of candidates. “Hiring newly qualified CAs gives you a choice of more than 1,000 smart, well-qualified young professionals looking for their first move outside of audit – so you get the best-of-the-best quality with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. And, with our technology that is available in the market, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of CVs anymore.”

He explains that Blue Recruiting, for example, has a video catalogue of hundreds of top quality, newly qualified CAs. So rather than wading through same-old, same-old CVs for hours, you can watch short video clips of each candidate and get a much better idea of the type of person you are dealing with. The company also has an electronic catalogue that lets you page through its candidate database to get a brief overview of each person before deciding who you would like to investigate further.

“So from a cost, culture, choice and convenience perspective, newly qualified CAs represent the best of all worlds,” concludes Graeme.