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Strategy for job creation needed, say chartered accountants

12 August: ICAEW survey finds that senior finance professionals expect to see job losses at their firms over the next six months.

Senior finance professionals in business from across the UK have painted a bleak future for jobs as the UK officially enters recession. 

In an ICAEW survey of more than 800 senior finance chiefs in businesses around the UK, a third said they have already made staff redundant, with two in five expecting to do so in the next six months. Most redundancies occurred due to a fall in customer demand and the need for greater productivity and efficiency. 

However, a quarter are still hiring, though the focus is on high-end professional and creative skills, rather than more junior positions. Those companies are experiencing an increase in demand. 

ICAEW is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to put job creation at the heart of his Autumn Budget. Iain Wright, ICAEW Director for Business and Industrial Strategy, says: “Our members give the government credit for preserving jobs so far, but they believe that a hard landing for the economy is only months away, and that employment will be badly hit. Some of this will be because market demand is weaker, but the crisis is also driving companies to become more efficient. This may improve productivity, but it will cost jobs.

“What we need to see in the Chancellor’s autumn budget is a social, education and industrial strategy which combines protection and re-training for displaced workers over the short- and medium-term, with intervention and investment to create jobs with a future – especially in the green and scientific sectors.”

The majority (62%) of senior professionals surveyed believe that the government has done a fairly good job of protecting jobs so far. More than half (53%) used the furlough scheme since the start of the lockdown.