Australians More Ambitious Than Most

July 4 2006 - Results from a Robert Half Finance & Accounting International Workplace Survey show that thirty-eight per cent of Australian finance managers aspire to lead their company.

More Australian respondents had CEO aspirations than colleagues overseas, topping those in New Zealand (30 per cent), the UK (24 per cent) and globally (23 per cent). Male finance managers are keener on the top job than their women counterparts: 44 per cent of male respondents said they aspired to be CEO - almost double the 23 per cent of female finance managers who had company leadership ambitions.

Around a half of CEOs in Australia are promoted to the role internally. The main obstacles to securing the top job cited by survey respondents were:

  • size of the organization (21 per cent)
  • too much internal competition (15 per cent)
  • having a CEO who would not leave (12 per cent), and
  • lack of training opportunities (9 per cent).

Despite the finding that 46 per cent of CEOs were recruited externally, a mere 5 per cent of Australian respondents said that a culture of bringing in people from outside the company was thwarting their ambition to make it to the top. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents felt that a financial background was important but the key success factors for CEOs were seen as:

  • management capacity (54 per cent)
  • good communication skills (49 per cent), and
  • vision (39 per cent).

Nigel Barcham, Managing Director, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, said the results underlined the need for companies to continue to develop the soft skills of their finance managers to equip them for senior management positions.

"The results of this survey show that Australia is a stand-out in terms of its ambitious finance managers," Nigel Barcham said.

"However, organizations should address any issues their employees have surrounding promotion. This ensures talent and ambition is nurtured and those determined employees are able to visualise a clear career path straight to the top."

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