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UKs financial talent is being left on the scrapheap

UK’s financial talent is being left & lsquo;on the scrapheap’
New survey finds 88% have experienced ageism when applying for jobs

A UK-wide survey of finance professionals has found ageism is rife across the industry.  Over 500 recruiting managers, management accountants, financial directors and financial controllers responded to the survey and 83 per cent stated age is a barrier.  

The survey, conducted by AFR Consulting, a specialist financial recruitment agency based in the North West, also found 88 per cent of unemployed respondents believed they had encountered prejudice when applying for new jobs, with the figure rising to 91 per cent among unemployed accountants aged 50 or over.   Mr Phil Scott, Director of AFR, said, & lsquo;It’s a difficult time for anyone to find a new role at the moment, but it seems older candidates are finding the job market particularly tough.’ 

& lsquo;Recently we were contacted by a 60 year old qualified financial manager, who has struggled to find work since he was made redundant three years ago and is currently working in a warehouse.  It’s hard to believe that someone with all his experience is reduced to working for minimum wage in an unskilled job,’ he added. 

Manchester United’s former Financial Controller, David Beswitherick is also among those struggling to find a permanent position.  Since leaving the football club in 2005 he has only been able to find contract work.  He said, & lsquo;I was very positive when I was first made redundant, but despite my experience and applying for many roles I just wasn’t getting any interviews.  It was only when I was told off-the-record, that employers wanted someone younger, I realised my age was a factor.’

Mr Beswitherick believes most mature job-seekers aren’t actually looking for prestigious and high salaried positions, but feels employers may question their motives when applying for roles.  & lsquo;I think they’re concerned you’ll just take the job until something better comes along, but when you’re older your lifestyle changes.  My daughters have left home and I’ve no mortgage, so I just don’t need to earn what I used to.  What I’m looking for is a challenge, where I feel I can make a contribution and help a business grow and develop,’ he added.


AFR Director Phil Scott also said, & lsquo;There are so many talented financial professionals currently looking for work across the UK and most mature accountants are very flexible on salary.  The fact that their skills are not being utilised is a real waste.  In this difficult financial climate businesses really need their experience.’ 

As part of its commitment to addressing the issue of unemployment among older accountants, AFR will shortly be launching  As well as finding suitable candidates for temporary assignments at flexible salaries, employers will receive a discount on recruitment fee rates.  

The new website’s development is supported by the survey’s finding, as over 65 per cent of older unemployed accountants believe contract work is the best route to employment until they retire. 


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