Accountancy profession becoming ‘closed shop’ for rich

Social mobility study shows large drop in number of accountants from low income families, but praises profession’s attempts to address issue

Written by Paul Grant

Accountancy Age, 21 Jul 2009

Breaking into the accountancy profession is becoming increasingly difficult for those from low income families, according to a government report.

The study into social mobility found that top professions are being closed off to all but the most affluent families, despite efforts to close the gap between rich and poor.

Accountancy and journalism were found to have suffered the biggest declines in social mobility when looking at professionals born in 1958 and those in 1970.

Former minister Alan Milburn, who chaired the study into social mobility, said the professions had a ‘closed shop mentality’ and have ‘become more not less exclusive over time’.

However, the report did single out the accountancy profession for its attempts to fix this imbalance.

‘Many professions have become increasingly concerned about these developments and have taken the lead in developing innovative new levers to prise open the professions. For example, the major accountancy institutes all offer non-graduate routes to entry,’ said the report.



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