The past year, 2019, was one marked with unrest and instability, increasing the uncertainty affecting the global economy now and into the future. Whether it was political turmoil in the United States, the continuing drama of Brexit in the United Kingdom, or the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, confidence in the global trade markets has been under threat. Based on this uncertainty, the International Monetary Fund’s outlook on the world economy is precarious.
How does the economic outlook impact job security and compensation? IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) conducts an annual survey to determine how its global members are faring during these tumultuous times. The survey provides an opportunity to analyze important trends in compensation and other factors affecting employment and careers.
This year’s survey includes 4,253 responses from 80 different countries, which speaks to IMA’s global presence. Figure 1 presents the median salary and total compensation for all countries with at least 1% of the survey respondents. (All monetary values are in U.S. dollar equivalents as of the time of the survey.) The percentage of respondents from China continues to grow, outpacing the respondents from the U.S. for the first time. Last year, U.S. respondents represented approximately 31.4% of the total respondents, while China represented 30.2%. This year, 47.6% of the respondents are from China and 28.1% are from the U.S. The third largest representation is from the United Arab Emirates (4%).
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Table 1 summarizes select demographic information for each region: the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Middle East/Africa/India (MEAI). Note: In previous years, India was included in the Asia region. It is now included with the Middle East and Africa to align more closely with IMA operations. In recent years, the overall percentage of female respondents has been steadily increasing (37% and 40% in the 2018 and 2019 reports, respectively). This year is no exception, with women making up 50% of the respondents. This is very encouraging, especially given the significant increase in international respondents. The Americas region experienced a decrease in the percentage of female respondents (2%), while the MEAI region experienced the highest percentage increase (4%). Consistent with prior years, the Asia region was the only one with more female respondents (66%).
Overall, the mean and median age of the respondents is 37 and 35, respectively, which is the same as last year. Across regions, respondents are slightly older, on average, compared to last year. Only the Europe region had any significant change in the average age of respondents, increasing by 1.8 years to 37. Respondents in the Americas region (primarily the U.S.) continue to be older (44) compared to all other regions (ranging from 34 to 37). The Asia and MEAI regions have the youngest respondents, with an average age of 34. Compared to previous years, there’s no significant shift between age groups within each region. The largest shift occurred in the Europe region, where the percentage of those in their 20s decreased by 8.7% and the percentage of those in their 40s increased by 9.5%.
The overall percentage of respondents holding the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification increased significantly to 53% this year, compared to 37% last year. The Americas region has the highest percentage holding the certification (59%), followed closely by respondents in the Europe region (58%). The Asia region had the largest increase in the percentage (20%) holding the certification to 53%. The increase in the percentage of respondents holding the CMA is exciting and consistent with last year’s survey results, where 85% of those not holding the CMA intended to earn the certification in the future.
The mean and median annual salary and total compensation by region are presented in Table 2. These results vary slightly across regions, with the Asia region being the only one to have a decrease in both mean and median annual salary and total compensation. The Americas, Europe, and MEAI regions all had increases in average and median compensation. The Americas region had the highest median total compensation ($103,500), followed by Europe ($71,500), and both the Asia and MEAI regions ($25,000). The biggest increase in median total compensation was in the MEAI region, which had an increase of 32% compared to last year.