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School tie network holds no sway for accountants


Ex-colleagues and social media seen as most important networks

The old school tie mentality is being shunned by accountants as they identify ex-colleagues and social media as their most important networking groups according to research from specialist accountancy recruiter Marks Sattin.*

Fifty six per cent said ex-colleagues were their most important network and 30% identified social media sites such as LinkedIn as their top networking source. This compares with the traditional networks such as members’ clubs (4%), sports clubs (5%) and the lure of the old school tie (4%) in perceived importance.

More than half (52%) of the accountants questioned said they had worked with or been employed by an ex-colleague in a new job.

Additionally, two thirds of accountants are on LinkedIn, the most business orientated social media network. However, just 39% of accountancy employers have a presence on LinkedIn, suggesting they may be missing out on spotting potential talent and business opportunities.**

University friends are also an important network for accountants, with one in five people identifying this source. This is well above family members at 8% suggesting that in accountancy at least nepotism doesn’t rule.

Top 5 Networking Groups for Accountants:

1. Ex-colleagues (56%)
2. Social media e.g. LinkedIn (30%)
3. University friends (21%)
4. Family members (8%)
5. Dedicated networking group e.g. BNI (5%)

Dave Way, Managing Director of Marks Sattin said,

“Whether for business development or career progression, most professions thrive on networking and accountancy is no different. The importance of ex-colleagues in your future career should be a strong deterrent to anyone thinking of “going out with a bang” in the mould of Greg Smith at Goldman Sachs when they leave a job. You never know when current colleagues might prove useful in the future.

“It’s also interesting to find school networks and old boy clubs are deemed as far less important than social media and university friends for networking opportunities. The ubiquity of social media and the rise in university attendance make networking a much less exclusive process – something that should be good for business.”

Networking within their own gender

Four per cent of people identify their own gender as an important network, but this rises to 14% among women.  This can in part be attributed to the rise of women’s networking groups as part of a concerted effort to promote gender equality in business. However, a quarter of accountants questioned still said there are more opportunities for men to network than women.

Dave Way continues:
“There are many causes of gender inequality in the workplace, but one that has often been raised is the fact that members’ clubs, sports teams and old school ties all favoured men when it came to networking. However, as these institutions’ influence diminishes, there also appears to be a greater focus on women-only networking, and women’s career progression in general. This is a gap that should close organically over time.”

*Based on a poll of 152 accountants conducted between 20th July and 13th August 2013
**Marks Sattin Market Insight report conducted among 2,016 UK accountants


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