PracticeAccounting FirmsOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

I am left quite unsettled by the conclusions of Channel 4’s investigation into age discrimination on Monday (9 Feb)

gavin hinks, accountancy age editor

Gavin Hinks, Accountancy Age editor

It asked Martin Lloyd-Penny, a friend of Accountancy Age, and a man
north of 50, to compete with his daughter, Tanne, a twenty-something accounting
trainee, to see who could drum up the most job interviews.

Needless to say Martin, a former BDO partner, FD and accountant of any number
of decades experience, came off worst ­ partly the reason he started his own
recruitment agency,
But what had me reeling was Dispatches’ conclusion that even once you
hit 40 your employment opportunities start to decrease dramatically.

Now, speaking as a shy and retiring 41 year-old who believes his best days
are still to come (providing the two-year old at home lets me get a night’s
sleep) I couldn’t help but regard that with dismay. We’re in recession, our
pensions are shot, there’s no point in putting money in the bank and now we
can’t get a job because we’re a little too old. Dear me.

What cheered me up was the conclusion that ­ with the help of scientists and
cooperative lab rats ­ intellectually, people over 40 and 50, dare I say it even
60, can still compete with the best of them. Even if we need a desk closer to
the gents.

The big firms get in a state over how many trainees to hire and then
retaining them. Of course you can’t retain them ­ they’re always on their way
somewhere else. But there is a whole army of accountants out there, perfectly
capable, who want a rewarding job where people show them respect and give them

Not consider them over the hill.

The point is all sectors of business are preoccupied with youth being a
guarantee of quality. It simply ain’t so.

Right, I’m off to see facilities about getting my desk moved.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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