Recruitment firm Randstad thinks the UK economy faces a long term shortfall of tens of thousands of accountants. If you lose your job in banking and are young and patient, now may be the time to retrain.
Randstad looked at European population forecasts from European statistics agency Eurostat and compared them to employment trends based on figures from the Office of National Statistics. By 2050, it suggests that the UK will face a shortfall of 3.1 million working people, distributed between sectors as follows:
Profession Projected Shortfall (2050)
Qualified Engineers 36,800
IT and Tech 33,300
Social Workers 10,600
Qualified Accountants 10,200
This is long term. For the moment, some accountancy recruiters say there's no real shortage of accountants in the UK. "It's not my perception that there's a shortage of accountants at this point in time," says Stevan Rolls, UK head of HR at Deloitte. "Obviously there are all sorts of demographic changes that will affect us in future, but we are certainly not finding it difficult to attract people now," he adds.
Mark Cameron, COO of recruitment firm Astbury Marsden, agrees that there's no real shortage of accountants to move into banking roles right now. "There's always a shortage of good accountants, but we're certainly having no problems attracting people into product control," he says.
Laid off bankers may do better to move into compliance roles than to retrain as accountants if they want to remain in banking. A new survey from PWC and the Confederation of British Industry suggests 43,000 jobs are likely to be cut in the UK financial services sector in the next six months, but that compliance will continue to face talent shortages. Last year, a report from BDO and DLA Piper suggested banks will need to increase their compliance and risk headcount by 40-50% by 2014.