Do accountants have a reason to be gloomy?

The latest job watch from recruitment giant Adecco shows a decrease in demand for permanent professionals across a range of sectors.

The number of vacancies for accountants dropped from 20,450 to 22,225 last month, whilst the number of opportunities in finance, banking and insurance fell from 10,612 to 10,550. Although these are small decreases, they do suggest that some employers could be holding off recruitment until the UK’s economic prospects improve. The upside of this could be an increase in demand for contractor accountants.

Accountants have seen their profession’s national headcount drop by 6.8% since 2007, and this decrease in numbers has been coupled with a drop in salaries of 2.2%. Perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of them are not confident about their future prospects. Admittedly they came off badly during the recession. The economic crisis hit financial institutions badly and devastated merger and acquisition activity.

Although the situation in Ireland is no better, Karen O’Flaherty from Morgan McKinley, explained that the top tier accountancy firms are anticipating growth and have increased their graduate recruitment levels.

PwC also recently met with 60 career advisors from schools in Greater London at an event designed to explain the different options available to students wanting to join the profession. PwC has a range of options available to students who want to become accountants in London, including graduate, internship and A-level programmes.

All of the attendees felt that A-level entry schemes were as good an option as taking a university degree but only 10% thought that employers do enough to guide students into making the best decisions.

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