The main priority of the audit industry is to maintain and improve audit quality. While audit quality has been an important topic in both accounting academia and practice, there is still a lack of understanding of what drives audit quality. Given that people are the most valuable asset an audit firm has, we focus on examining the labor inputs as a driver of audit quality. Specifically, we argue that a key threat for audit quality that so far has been largely neglected is the loss of talent across the hierarchy. A well-known problem for audit firms is that they invest enormous resources in new professionals only to have many with talent leave (Patten, 1995; Vera-Muñoz, Ho & Chow, 2006; ACCA & ACRA, 2012). A recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants finds that only about 38% are satisfied with their career and only 35% plan to stay beyond three years, with no significant differences across Big 4 and midtier firms (ACCA & ACRA, 2012).