Entry into the accountancy profession: The effect of deprivation and social class on social mobility at Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms

Nicholas Julian Paisey, Catriona Paisey, Heather Tarbert, Betty (H.T.) Wu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The UK is perceived to be one of the least socially mobile countries in the world, with the professions having been singled out as presenting major barriers to social mobility. The accountancy profession has embraced the social mobility agenda and the recruitment policies of some accountancy firms have recently been amended in an attempt to recruit a more socially diverse workforce. This paper investigates social class and evidence of social mobility among chartered accountants who qualified with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and who were admitted into membership in 2009. We find that this group of chartered accountants do tend to come from privileged backgrounds and that those who qualified with Big 4 firms tend to come from higher social origins than those who trained with other firms. We find that being socially deprived/disadvantaged has a negative effect on the prospects of a newly qualified ICAS member being recruited by, and subsequently qualifying with, the Big 4; that social class has a moderating effect on the aforementioned relation in that having parents with elite jobs enhances the prospects of those being socially deprived/disadvantaged being recruited by, and subsequently qualifying with, the Big 4; and that the aforementioned moderating effect of social class varies with the degree of social deprivation, such an effect being stronger for those who are more socially deprived/disadvantaged than their counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016
EventBritish Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference 2016 - University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Mar 201623 Mar 2016

Conference

ConferenceBritish Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleBAFA 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBath
Period21/03/1623/03/16

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    Paisey, N. J., Paisey, C., Tarbert, H., & Wu, B. H. T. . (2016). Entry into the accountancy profession: The effect of deprivation and social class on social mobility at Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms. Paper presented at British Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference 2016, Bath, United Kingdom.