Switching to a career in accounting

A new survey from the AAT shows many people are worried about job security and highlights people who have made the switch to accountancy. It comes as figures show unemployment rose to 4.1% in July.

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Nearly a fifth of workers believe their job is at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic and just over one in five have thought about a change of career this year, according to a new report, which comes amid figures showing unemployment has risen to 4.1%.

The survey of over 1,000 workers, conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians, found the health and pharmaceutical sector is seen as the most secure by current workers (29%), followed by education (24%) and accountancy, banking and finance (19%). Nearly a third of workers said that job security will be a greater priority for them once the pandemic comes to an end  and 23% believe that they will leave their current job within the next year.

A second survey conducted by AAT of 500 UK adults who are currently looking for a new job found 51% said that the Covid-19 pandemic was the reason that they are looking for a new job, 58% say they are considering moving into a more secure sector than their previous role and 85% say they would be willing to retrain in order to make a career change.

The research comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 156,000 people were made redundant in the May-July quarter – an increase of 58,000 compared with the same period in 2019 and an increase of 48,000 compared with February-April when the Covid-19 crisis began. The ONS says this is the biggest jump in redundancies in over a decade. The figures also show that more than five million people reported themselves “temporarily away from paid work” in July, which includes those being supported by the Government’s Covid support schemes. The figures also show a sharp drop in employment for young people, for part-time jobs and for self employment.

Rob Alder, Head of Business Development at AAT, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has acted as an accelerator for important career decisions, with many people across a vast spectrum of industries facing the prospect of losing their jobs, and in some cases seeking employment in more secure sectors.

“This backs up what we’ve seen recently, with nearly one in three people who’ve contacted AAT about our accounting and bookkeeping qualifications, telling us that they were looking for a career change into the finance industry.

“And while a significant chunk of this is due to people losing their job, with many using their redundancy money to fund their studies, others are viewing accountancy either as a more secure career path, or are hoping to gain new finance skills to improving their chances of employability.”

The AAT has highlighted several different case studies, including dad Dan Purnell who recently switched from recruitment in engineering and aviation to accountancy, gaining accountancy qualifications during furlough. He now has a new accountancy job and is raising money for Bliss, the charity for premature babies. His son was born in 2019 10 weeks early.

Verity Bartesch switched from theatre production to accountancy. She made the decision to start her studies two years ago and was able to secure a job in April 2019 as a team member in the accounts payable department at infrastructure and engineering company Balfour Beatty. Verity, who also does arts charity work in her spare time, was promoted to assistant accountant in December 2019.




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