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Accountancy's 'poshness test'

26th Jun 2015
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Snobbery at elite accounting firms about accents, mannerisms and background hamper the chances of talented working class applicants, according to a recent government study.

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commision, which conducted the study, reported “that up to seventy percent of job offers have been made to graduates educated at a selective state or fee paying school in a single cohort. This compares to four percent and seven percent of the population as a whole”.

No leading accountancy firms release social mobility data, so this information was gained exclusively from firm case studies. According to the study, as university education has become more widespread, employers have turned their attention to other characteristics like personal style, accent and mannerisms, and adaptability.

The report’s conclusions did raise some significant criticisms among the AccountingWEB community, however. For some members, the preference of independently schooled employees was a matter of practicality.

“I can see that certain firms would want presentation and communication of employees to be up to scratch from day 1,” wrote Alan Davies. “Individuals who know how to act and dress accordingly without guidance are more likely to come from homes where they have the appropriate examples i.e. professional parents & good schools/university.”

Others also defended an employee’s alma mater being part of the rationale when hiring. “[I] have always considered that some universities are better than others in genuine ways,” said NHGlos “So I feel it’s perfectly understandable that being a graduate from one university as opposed to another may work in your favour”.

David Gordon lamented the injection of politically correct values into recruitment and employment. “It is just a pity that it has become politically incorrect to tell someone they need to spend time learning to speak clearly, correctly, and to the point,” he wrote.

Other members outright denied the reality portrayed in the study. “From my experience in the Big Four, this is rubbish,” wrote Harrison88. “I never experienced any resistance to recruiting people or favouring them based on background.”

Where do you fall on this issue? A real barrier or a completely untrue? 


Replies (10)

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By Manwithnoname
26th Jun 2015 10:39

Ayup lass

Me accents never stopped me get'n a job, nor showing a profes'nl facade t' clients.

Now if tha dunt mind I'm off t' feed t'whippet d'wn this gennel ee by eck.

Thanks (3)
By Alan Davies
26th Jun 2015 12:30

Made it!

I've been quoted - I feel I've made it now!

And my quote doesn't give away the fact that I'm actually 'reet comun'.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
By Francois Badenhorst
26th Jun 2015 12:32

Alan, this is clearly

This is clearly the pinnacle of your career! 

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By Francois Badenhorst
26th Jun 2015 12:31

That last line.

I have no clue what you said, for all I know you could be insulting my mother. 

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Replying to meadowsaw227:
By stepurhan
26th Jun 2015 12:44

Translation service

FrancoisB wrote:
I have no clue what you said, for all I know you could be insulting my mother.
Never fear. No mother insulting going on here.

Manwithnoname wrote:
Now if tha dunt mind I'm off t' feed t'whippet d'wn this gennel ee by eck.

Now, if you don't mind, I am off to feed the whippet down this alley, golly gosh.

Well, roughly anyway. I have a Home Counties accent, but Northern and Welsh parents. (one of each)

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
By Francois Badenhorst
26th Jun 2015 13:51


Just now we have an international incident on our hands. As far as accents go, I have to say that in media I haven't experienced any discrimination (at least not blatant) and I've got a super thick foreign accent and a foreign name.

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By jlsmith
26th Jun 2015 12:35

Speaking as one who went through school life with one of the strongest Geordie accents ever and attended a pretty low rate university, I am increasingly irritated by entitlement whingers who would use any excuse to get an undeserved leg up.  

If we can't discriminate on the grounds of ability, diction and presentation we might as well recruit by lottery. 

Thanks (1)
By Tom 7000
26th Jun 2015 14:18

Haway the lads

Y man different accents automatically lead to instant decisions on that person

This is why HMRC have tax collectors in Scotland. The accent sounds hard and its meant to make people pay.

If you have a yorkshire accent people think you are a little slow ( unlucky Andy)

A scouse one and you are a crook

A southern one you are posh

if you are welsh you are friendly and slow

But most of all Geordie is canny as jlsmith above wrote because:

Sitel, the Top Inbound Call Centre Outsourcing Vendor as listed by the Black Book of Outsourcing, today announced the results of a new study on call centre trends. The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK, found that the Geordie accent is not only the friendliest in the UK, it is also most likely to put you in a ‘good mood,’ according to respondents. Geordie also ranked amongst the top five accents in the categories of trustworthy, helpful and efficient, traits respondents cited as important when speaking to a call centre representative.

And as an accountant fundamentaly your clients have to trust you marra.

I have also nearly come to blows with someone that ''spelk'' isn't geordie and its proper English ...


Aufweidersein Pet


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By Alan Davies
26th Jun 2015 16:12

to Tom7000

As a Yorkshire man living in the Midlands I must step up and challenge you.  The majority of accent studies show Yorkshire accents as being 'friendly & trustworthy' whereas brummies are assumed to be a bit thick!  I may have pointed these sorts of studies out to colleagues previously.

They never give details about who they ask for these opinions though so I take it all with a massive pinch of salt.


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By TaxTeddy
28th Jun 2015 10:29

I'm afraid I was very, very drunk.....

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