ACAs battle to get into banking

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It's that time of year when newly qualified ACAs dump Big Four accountancy firms for the bigger phwoar of investment banks. This year's batch will find their services considerably less desired than those of their predecessors.

According to two recruitment firms specialising in moving ACAs into financial services (both of which wish to remain anonymous), the appetite for newly quals is down 50% or more on last year.

"Last year, we had 10 investment banks that were chasing newly qualified accountants," says the head of the accountancy division at one firm. "This year, it's more like two and a few asset managers and retail banks."

"There are opportunities for newly qualified ACAs within the City, although these are considerably fewer than a year ago," says Steve Leeson, associate director at recruiters Morgan McKinley.

Martin Long, a consultant at recruitment firm Joslin Rowe, says the newly qualified ACAs who've got jobs sorted out their offers in the summer. He says ACAs who are still getting jobs at this stage are being much more realistic about the opportunities on offer: "Accountants who would traditionally have been looking at front-office positions are how happy to consider product control," he says.

Another (anonymous) recruiter, says banks are only hiring ACAs with degrees from top universities (although this has long been the case).

Newly qualifieds moving into banking this year can expect to earn 53k, with an extra 10% for the best candidates, according to Joslin Rowe, or an average of 55k, according to Morgan McKinley. And they can probably forget about moving into corporate finance for the foreseeable future.