New research from CABA, the charity supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants, has identified a belief that a ‘class ceiling’ exists within the industry. More than half (53%) of accountants in the study believe that “accountancy will always be considered an elite profession”. On top of this, 40% of respondents said that individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds were not able to progress as well within the profession as those from more affluent circumstances.

This view is also more prevalent among a younger audience, with 54% of 18 to 34-year-old respondents saying they felt this is the case, compared with 25% of those over 55.

CABA’s Kelly Feehan said: “The belief that accountancy is an elite profession, particularly among the younger generation, is an issue that needs to be addressed for the profession to remain competitive.” She is worried that the perception of a ‘class ceiling’ within the field could potentially be damaging to the reputation of the industry.

CABA has been joined by the TUC, which is now calling for legal measures to tackle ‘class’ discrimination at work. It has said professional firms need to report the gaps in the pay between workers from different social backgrounds.

Graduates from wealthier families are twice as likely to start on a higher salary than their working class peers, it stressed.#

The TUC also warned of indirect forms of discrimination, such as the use of unpaid interns as a gateway into jobs.

Private school is also a factor here. Graduates who went to private school are still twice as likely than those who went to state school to be earning above £30,000 (18% compared with 9%). The TUC pointed to the government’s own social mobility