Many young accountants think they are not paid enough, according to a new survey.
More than half (58 per cent) of all part-qualified accountants are unhappy with their current salary and benefits package.
According to research by specialist recruitment agency Robert Half Finance and Accounting in partnership with PASS magazine, assistant accountants (74 per cent) and trainee accountants (71 per cent) are the most dissatisfied of all.
The survey of over 500 part-qualified accountants in the UK and Ireland reveals that on average the highest salaries are offered in Ireland (£33,830), London (£33,120), South Coast (£31,060), Thames Valley (£30,350) and Scotland (£29,690).
The Midlands figure was £28,520.
The survey also shows that trainees in the Home Counties (78 per cent), South Coast (67 per cent) and Thames Valley (65 per cent) are the least satisfied with their remuneration packages despite the latter two being in the top five highest paid regions.
The most popular benefits currently offered to trainees are pension (71 per cent), healthcare (34 per cent), bonus (33 per cent), life assurance (25 per cent) and leisure facilities (12 per cent). These benefits are in line with those that trainees stated they most wanted to receive: bonus (29 per cent), pension (27 per cent), flexible hours (16 per cent) and extra holidays (12 per cent).
Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, said: "Employees are now looking to achieve a greater work/life balance as indicated by their desire for alternative benefits such as flexible hours and flexi-time.
"Whilst traditional benefits such as pensions and bonuses remain popular, employers need to engage with trainees and closely assess what they are offering employees to ensure they attract and retain the most suitable candidates for the job."
The survey also reveals that female trainees are less likely to earn in the higher salary bracket as do their male counterparts.
On average, male trainees earn £3,050 more than females.
Sixty-six per cent of female trainees earn less than £30,000 as compared to 49 per cent of men.
The gender pay divide is further highlighted in the higher salary ranges as there is a difference of more than ten per cent between men earning over £37,000 to women - 25 per cent versus 16 per cent respectively.
Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of all trainees stated that a pay rise would stop them from leaving their existing job.
Career progression opportunities (56 per cent), bonus for passing exams (40 per cent), paid revision leave (25 per cent) and opportunities to work abroad (24 per cent) are other reasons trainees choose to remain with their current employer.
Nevertheless, three-quarters of all trainees claimed that they will leave their current job for better prospects elsewhere.
Forty-two per cent do not feel obligated to remain loyal to their company even though their training is paid for by their employer.
Mr Sheridan said: "Training alone will not persuade an employee to remain loyal to a company. Employers need to establish a positive work environment where job satisfaction and career ambitions can be easily achieved."
Almost half (42 per cent) of all trainees indicate their plans to work abroad in the future.
Australia (62 per cent), US (48 per cent), Dubai (27 per cent), Hong Kong (21 per cent) and Switzerland (19 per cent) are the favourite foreign countries to move to.
An overwhelming 82 per cent of trainees state that a change of lifestyle is the reason for wanting to move to a foreign country. Opportunities to travel (64 per cent), better weather (35 per cent), improved career opportunities (30 per cent) and better salary and benefits (25 per cent) are other factors influencing a move abroad.
Australia is the most popular country to move to for trainees in the Midlands (88 per cent), Home Counties (86 per cent) and the South West (71 per cent). Over half (53 per cent) of Londoners prefer the US.