Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Marc Massoud

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Erin L. MacLean


Employee turnover is extremely costly to any business in terms of training costs and loss of pertinent knowledge and experience. This paper explores the contributors to the high rates of employee turnover seen in public accounting by focusing on the Big Four accounting firms, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Employee retention is a factor of corresponding employee motivation, as seen through the analysis of popular motivational theories and their applications to a career in public accounting. This paper also delves into the possible contributors to the differences in retention rates between males and females in this occupation. Lastly, an analysis of current firm programs and initiatives is conducted, with suggestions for ulterior areas of focus and improvements to current programs.

The popular motivational theories explored signify important areas of focus for current and suggested programs. The opportunities presented by effective and accessible mentors are of extreme importance to reducing turnover and aiding an employee in developing ownership over a firm’s mission. Additionally, stereotypes associated with females in the business world and the inherent work of public accounting inhibits young professionals from establishing longevity with a firm. The current programs offered by the Big Four firms are likely to be enhanced and improved upon by new generations of professionals entering into the higher ranks of leadership.