Here at PwC’s Auditor Training & Certification, we train a lot of people who want to become auditors.
Because we like a bit of data analysis, we thought we’d crunch some numbers to see who it is that wants to become an auditor.
The results aren’t too surprising, but they do help to confirm a few things that most of us were probably thinking.
Over 40% of people who want to become an auditor are over 45. Assuming they will retire at 65, they only have 20 years left in the workforce.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
The labour force participation rate for both males and females varies over the course of one’s life. The rate for males remains relatively high until they reach their sixties when many retire. For males, participation rates peak in the 25-44 year age group, while for females, the participation rates peak in the 45-54 year age group. For females, the labour force participation rate tends to dip slightly during the peak childbearing years between the ages of 25 and 44 years. Delayed childbearing and an increased propensity for females to combine paid work and family has seen this dip become later and less pronounced than in the past.
From this, we can see that after 44 years of age for males and after 54 years of age for females, people start to leave the workforce – the opposite of what we have found for auditors. Can we deduce from that auditing is a good job once people have left their main career?
Just over 52% of our students are male whilst just over 40% are female.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that in 2010-11, the total labour participation rate for Males aged between 20 and 74 is 80% whereas for females it is 65%.
This means there are 23% more male workers than female workers in the general population. However, for auditing there are 30% more males than females wanting to become auditors.
This is surprising, but can be partly explained by digging a little deeper and looking at the industry type.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics tell us that in 2010-11 male-dominated industries were Construction (88% of the workforce is male); Mining (85%); Transport, Postal and Warehousing (78%); Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (77%); and Manufacturing (74%).
In 2010-11, women were more dominant in industries including Healthcare and Social Assistance (79% of the workforce is female); Education and Training (70%) and Retail Trade (55%). 
Furthermore, if we look at the occupation type, we see that in 2010-11, Professionals made up 27% of the female workforce aged 20-74. 25% worked as Clerical or Administrative workers. A quarter of the male workforce aged 20-74 were employed as Technician and Trade workers and 20% were employed as Professionals. 10% of females worked as Managers compared to 16% of male workers.  Work experience across aspects of Quality, WHS and Environment traditionally lie in industries dominated by men such as Construction and Mining. This may be why more men tend to find a second career in auditing; it has been on their radar in their previous working life. As these workers get older, their desire to work in the field diminishes and they begin to look for new career opportunities.
This is not to say, however, that industries that have more of a female skew have never had exposure to auditing. They may have had assessments, inspections or reviews, all terms synonymous with auditing, in their previous working life. This experience can be applied to a career in auditing as well. The perception that auditing is traditionally a ‘male’ job is incorrect – many women have forged successful and long-lived careers in the auditing profession.
It is also important to note that a career in the auditing profession is not just for the older worker. While it can help to have a background in a relevant industry, it is by no means mandatory. There are many young people making fantastic, long-term careers out of auditing.
While an analysis of our core demographics shows that more men aged over 45 are looking to become auditors, opportunities in the profession are in no way limited to just this group.