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Think public sector for inclusion

26 November 2018

Finance professionals working in the public sector are more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds, says a new study from ACCA.

‘Purpose and the Profession: Social Mobility and the Public Sector’ discovered accountants in the public sector had parents who had typically lower educational attainment and did not work as professionals or managers. In all some 80% of the public finance professionals questioned hailed from comparatively disadvantaged backgrounds.

ACCA’s Alex Metcalfe said: “These results suggest that, globally, the public sector function is providing a more effective route into the profession for those from comparatively lower social-economic backgrounds.”

Those working in the public sector also start their qualification later – when they are aged 26 or older. This compares to respondents in non-public sector roles who are much more likely to pursue their ACCA qualification aged between 18 and 22.

ACCA vice present and CEO of St Elizabeth Hospice, Mark Millar, says he has worked exclusively in the public sector. He said: “Coming from a blur collar rather than white collar/professional family, I studied, qualified and spent a career working in the public sector. In my case I joined from school aged 18.”

“My own observation is that many who join the public sector do so with a sense of service for their community and in many cases it is not until they have been there some years that they see the possibilities for advancement that come with a professional qualification.”

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