By CA ANZ President Peter Rupp FCA
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t discriminated when it comes to its impact on our profession. We have all felt its repercussions one way or another.
But our young members have been disproportionately affected, starting with the disrupted studies of our provisional members – a year of study and exams like no other for students of the CA Program in 2020 – through to the uncertain employment environment faced by those starting their careers.
Longer-standing members who have weathered other economic downturns can provide some perspective by saying “it will pass”, but we should not use our experience as an opportunity to downplay concerns.
Many young CAs feel profoundly cut off from their colleagues and social groups, so remember that CA ANZ provides support such as the Employee Assistance Program and other wellbeing and developmental opportunities.
An International Labour Organization study of people aged 18 to 29 describes COVID’s impact on the young as “systematic, deep and disproportionate. Young people are concerned about the future and their place within it.”
But the report also notes that the young are stepping up to the challenge of “build back better”.
As President I have frequently spoken about the contribution our young members make to our profession. In conversations with young CAs I often feel like the mentee, such is the depth of insight and passion that flows my way.
Our young members are not afraid to shake things up in refreshingly challenging ways and we will all benefit from careful listening.
“Our young members are not afraid to shake things up in refreshingly challenging ways.”
The skills our younger members bring to the table – for example, their talent for embracing ever-changing ways of doing things – provide a solid base for them to cope with current challenges.
Over the past few months I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to meet with some of our most inspiring young CAs through a series of podcast interviews. You can join us by listening along to the Gen CA Podcast, which you can find on the CA ANZ website.
About 40% of our membership is provisional or young members, that is with less than five years of membership or under 35 years old. We must give this group a seat at the table.
Right now though, I’d like to ask members to reflect, and act, not only on the value our young members bring to the profession, but also the special challenges they face at this time.