Falling Through The Cracks: Perspective From The Unemployed

Close to 1,500 executives participated in our study, so far. Participants offered a rich kaleidoscope of stories, experiences and viewpoints about remuneration, work and the labour market, particularly in the comments section of the survey.  I am reproducing one by Brian C (with his permission) below:

I am an unemployed  C.P.A. AND Chartered Accountant, with a Master’s in Applied Finance and Investment, who immigrated to this country 6 years ago! SIX YEARS ago …   REPEAT SIX YEARS AGO.  I have no network, I have no prior Australian experience. I have a full log of over 510 resumes submitted to the recruitment industry.  These are the resumes I took seriously – involving focus and long hours to tailor cover letters and re-articulating resumes. I have also submitted countless more – more flippantly perhaps, with a hopeless sense of c’est la vie and abandon. I have not received ONE reply. I have never seen a potential employer, nor less, talk of one.

CPA Australia says we ought to import more CPA’s and motivates that permission through its ties, weight and influence at DIMIA and immigration.  Oy Vey! Why, pray God, would they do that?  Would that they realise they are at game with real peoples lives.   My circumstance is well know through my expatriate network, and these circumstances alone would probably account for  at least 10 Chartered Accountant’s seriously considering my circumstances here in Australia – and declining  Australia as a viable or fair outcome (Please note that my employment pursuit predates the GFC). These are people who have contacted me,  to talk and discuss with me, having heard the potential dour outcome here, and these are mostly past colleagues at KPMG  (South Africa). But I am not sure what the ‘multiplier’ effect is, as I imagine their account is embellished as my incredulous and sorry tale is passed about the SA’n network and water fountain.

So do I care for perks, or salary sacrificing. Are you serious? What a joke, I have earned $264 GROSS over the 6 year period. That  is slightly in excess of what I used to GROSS hourly – eight years ago. The fact of the matter is – betwixt me, and the labour market, is a buttress of poorly skilled Australian HR consultants, who will forever deny me a fair go…and who will never allow me to recoup my earnings foregone over the prime earnings period  of my life.  It’s my fault, though, and I take full responsibility.  I made a grievous error in my judgment, wrongly assessing my marketable skills and the transportability of those  skills.   But I also sadly misjudged the ‘idiot’ factor in HR, and I mean that with no malice.  As an anecdote I spent about an hour and a half talking to a ‘financial sector’ recruitment consultant, about work availability that could utilise my FINSIA Master’s qualification.  After completing the interview, and as I was shaking hands to say good day, and goodbye, when I was politely asked by him, “err, what is FINSIA?”  Bloody hell, and I don’t have the wherewithal to get a salary! For me – I could care less, but sadly, in my case, its my children who have had to pay for the above misadventure.

PS I hope my perspective helps you assess the extreme outcomes in the market. Which, damningly, my circumstance has become, and I thank you for taking the time reading to this point, in my grumpy tale of woe!   Cheers

Sincerely   Mr. Brian C


When a qualified individual fall through the cracks who/what is to blame? As recruiters can we do more? As employers have we explored all possible outlets to connect with talent? Can advances in search technology help? As a nation is our skilled migration policy faulty?

There are no easy answers, but that shouldn’t stop us from asking more questions about our industry’s processes and performance. It’s cases like Brian’s which reminds us that we still have a long way to go.

P.S: If anyone can help, let me know.

4 replies
  1. Adam Seabrook
    Adam Seabrook says:

    There has to be something more to this story. With that many CV’s out the door over a period of 6 years and still unemployed I am 100% sure that the recruiters are screening this candidate out for a reason. I could also guess that the reason is probably something which is illegal to discriminate on or just too embarrassing to bring up which is why no recruiter has told the candidate what the issue is.

  2. Brian Conradsen
    Brian Conradsen says:

    Dear Adam.

    Based on the comments here, my account has not been an account with any sort of resonance, Yet I do perhaps hope that you return to scrutinise your response in this Destination Talent blog.

    I am still unemployed, and know that I will never be employed here! Not because who I was, and the capability and value I offer, but rather ironically, because of my failure here! I am damned; as I am damned!

    I have not been allowed to mounted a first step, no less surmounted it!

    Something more to this story? Nope , I think not. Not a word to me anyway but I would be delighted to know?

    If ever; I doubt there is anything ‘hidden’ from my side.

    I was articled to the largest audit and accounting firm, in a sector that implemented all new group audit practice for the firm, meaning I was amongst a tighter unit pegged to take on plan, structure, implement, some times conduct and then post assess all initial audits, and was, for good measure, actually articled to the incumbent president of the SA(CA) society.

    As national serviceman I possibly had one of the most testing, prestigious and responsible postings.

    My only hope now is that my great referees do not die, before I ever get to interact with a likely employer.

    My major failing is, in retrospect, of making two mistakes

    The first was that in South Africa Chartered Accountants (which was my association there) are usually one the highest paid professionals, and with any sort of professional or business success almost certain to be of the highest paid professionals.

    [Professional Chartered Accountants in South Africa, are qualified, through their association, to conduct statutory audits, provide financial advice (traditionally) and prepare professional tax advice and prepare tax client affairs. This makes them highly marketable, and restricts those transfer professional accountants over here.]

    There are other lessor professional associations in South Africa too, but their public practice capability is proscribed. Some of the newer arrivals here though, would be better to advise on the current status.

    I would be very surprised if recruiters here, understood this. ]

    The headhunters there thus focus heavily on us, and I was accustomed to having at least a monthly ‘unknown’ yet what became to be an expected, highly confidential call from an insightful recruiter trying to ‘lure’ me away from my company, based on their connections and research of successful corporate management.

    I knew (then) how to safeguard a company, grow its capital base, and well, simply do the darnedest thing, make it make money!

    (Most of those adept recruiters however failed to check that I too was the owner of that ‘measly’ company, and thus sadly a very unlikely prospect for their recruitment drive. )

    But I unfortunately misinterpreted those signals, and over estimated my marketable worth.

    My second mistake was to plan on using my professional association. I thus wrote the Australian transfer examinations, well in anticipation and never structured myself, on coming here, to depend on my own corporate being or capital, neither of which are well received in a somewhat socialist country.

    If anything else, I approached Australia, too cap in hand. I knew there was to be a gamut of professional adjustment, and I planned an entry that was to me, a way to brush up, and familiarize. There are just so many capabilities that I can offer, and I’d hoped in exchange, and in the while, that I could gauge the holes to and in my aspirations to my future Australian advancement.

    Most South African’s who I have met, and who have made fluid transitions, saw no need to do so, and in fact did not submit themselves for refreshment.

    I am thus aware of many ‘peers’ who top, or advance successfully into the more strategic levels of management, and do their company;s well.

    There diminished network here; a failing for me, they have put to good use, to allow them to devote a focus entirely on their new corporate hosts, and employers and new Australian base..

    I may be wrong, but hope that my interpretation is of some additional value.

  3. Brian Conradsen
    Brian Conradsen says:

    Dear Philip Tusing

    Obviously one other failure I made, was to commit myself to a positive outcome here. I gave a small failure, no less a grand failure here, almost no consideration.

    This as, perhaps, arrogantly I had never experienced failure, and when the time came where I realised this, and needed disparately to return ‘home’ to correct matters, interpersonal relationships intervene.

    The push factors that drive most South African professionals to England, Canada, The United States, Australia (in I believe – is the correct order of numbers ) largely remain; and most certainly my wife would not return to South Africa, under any circumstance despite the obvious advantage in doing so. Misogyny and the relentless assault on women are an essential new core to that countries recent past and inevitable future. It is no decent place for a women.

    We easily handle the lack of income, cash flow, and standard of living. The largest difficulty to my deeply diminished sense of self worth, is simply not working.

    I have never not worked in my life! I have always known exactly what I have needed to do, and have done so, and for the most achieved whatever I planned and set out to do.

    Yet here I am at a complete loss, I have had to recognise how ill equiped I am to simply doing nothing Emotionally this outcome is the most painful, it is this THE hell on earth. A daily walk to Coles cannot and is not a reprieve for a deep sense of an unfair incarceration.

    Please help. Please let me out, for I do not know how to punch at your clouds?

  4. David
    David says:

    Sorry I can not give a more positive responce but here is my story which I’m sure is similar to many hundreds of other accountants in Australia.

    I am a fully qualified CPA and have 10 years Australian experiance in industry. Three years ago I used to get calls from recruiters asking if I would consider a change of company. Two years ago during the GFC I lost my job but was very lucky to pick up a contract role a week later. That role finished a year ago. Since then I have worked 2 months as an accountant and only had two interviews. Whilst I only apply for roles I meet all the attributes sought I am surprised by the number of rejections (or should I say “never here anything again). I also get responces such as “the position has been withdrawn”.This week I attended an interview where I would guess up to 10 people were being interviewed by the company. I was told all were available for an immediate start. What this tells me is that there are a very large number of accountants that are not working.

    Of course if you have no Australian experiance then you are even more dissadvantaged. At the moment I’m seriously considering a change of career. So much for the skills shortage and booming job market we keep hearing about.


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