The main reason for undergraduates choosing a career in finance is simply financial reward and status according to a survey of university careers advisers conducted by The Chartered Institute of Taxation. Press Office: Viv Rees, Head of Communications, Tel: 020 7235 9381;
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The main reason for undergraduates choosing a career in finance is simply financial reward and status according to a survey of university careers advisers conducted by The Chartered Institute of Taxation. Values such as intellectual stimulus, job satisfaction and job security came a poor second.
When asked if students fully understood where their chosen career could lead, advisers were in total agreement that students had little or no idea of what lay ahead of them.
According to the survey, the most popular choice of financial career is corporate finance followed closely by banking and commerce and industry. However, when it came to which profession offers the best perks - banking, accountancy and law come top. Careers in government, tax and insurance sectors offered no perceived attraction in terms of career or perks.
Penny Hamilton, President of The Chartered Institute of Taxation, CIOT , said:
“Whilst the lure of big city rewards does pull many young people towards a financial career, not everyone achieves success. Money isn’t everything. More needs to be done to inform students about the balance between the positive intellectual challenges, the pressures and risks and the financial benefit that a career in finance brings.
“Results will not come overnight. But with CIOT plans for a university careers website, and our Tax Talking initiative for younger students, we hope that we can start to spread the word that tax isn’t just about filling in forms and calculations. One of our key messages over the next year will be that tax is a people profession where one of the most important attributes you can have is the ability to listen and deal with clients on an individual basis.”
The problem that the tax profession faces was further highlighted with a number of careers advisers admitting to a very limited understanding of tax. They confessed that this made them feel vulnerable when giving students career advice on tax.
A Sample of Quotes from University Careers Advisers in response to the following question:
In your opinion what percentage of Undergraduates fully understand a pay slip? Add any comments on your perception of their understanding of what the tax system will mean to them and whether you would like more help in explaining the real life practicalities of tax.
- 5% But then I don’t ! I do mention tax as a career but they tend to flinch.
· Really no idea – wouldn’t think they would try to understand a payslip until they get their first one.
· All help gratefully received. Big problem with undergraduate perceptions and the actual reality of the job duties/roles. I do think there is the ability for undergraduates to understand payslips in that they see NI and tax coming off but no real understanding of purpose, usage or calculation – 80%
· 10% My colleagues would need extra help in explaining tax, most students I suspect just see it as a necessary distraction from their future salaries. Something over which they have little power.
· 60% Would like to understand them myself.
· Most understand basic payslip from part-time work. Most (90%) don’t understand the tax system at all.
· The majority presumably understand a basic pay slip but do not have a great understanding of what the tax system will mean to them in the long run. More help in tax would be appreciated.
· Around 20%- more help needed.
· 80% - As more undergraduates work while they study they become more familiar with the real world / payslips etc. Although they do not always understand the implications of the tax system.
· Probably very low.