Experience V’s Young Blood – Ageism In Top Level Financial Roles

September 12th 2013 | Posted by phil scott

No matter what stage of your career you are at, you may feel concerns when looking for your next role and you come up against candidates that could be significantly younger or older than you are.

When it comes to top level Finance Director and CFO roles it is no different – competing for roles could be rising stars in their early 30’s who’ve rapidly progressed through a big four practice or a time served sector specialist FD with 20 years at experience of running company finances under their belt.

The key to avoiding prejudice where possible is positioning yourself and your circumstances to employers, which is often easily done when working with specialist consultants such as FD Recruit.

Recruiters will have the inside scoop from an employer as to what they are ‘really’ looking for, is it a new role that they ideally want an up and coming FC/FD to develop into or do they need an experienced hand to steady the ship.

This context will not be in the job or person specification due to fear of litigation but it may still be in the mind of the employer when selecting their shortlist for interview as a result it is equally important to position yourself, your circumstances and your career aspirations to a recruiter so they can find the most suitable opportunities.


An FD Recruit candidate aged 52 wanted a change of pace and because his children had grown up and his mortgage was paid off. He wasn’t chasing a career or promotions and he wasn’t reliant on 12 months income every year so he decided to move into a career of interim management.

A staggering 80% of accountants have experienced ageism when applying for jobs and whilst it can happen at both ends of the age scale it is often the older candidates that struggle.

Phil Scott Director at FD Recruit said: “Interim roles are perfectly suited for candidates at the later stages of their career as they have numerous years of experience to call upon and can hit the ground running in a variety of circumstances.

“Also, a good proportion of mature candidates do not get the itchy feat syndrome sometimes found in candidates who use interim work to fill in time while they are waiting to find that career building move, most interims have established quite an accomplished CV already.

“To back this up in a survey we did 6 months ago statistics show that 94% of temporary accountants in their 50’s complete the whole period of their interim assignments as opposed to 67% of accountants in their 30’s.

“We have lots of demand from businesses that need an Interim FD to steer them through a troublesome or particularly busy time, cover maternity leave or illness or even to provide extra support on a part time basis as a consultant.

“We have a vast network of candidates with an equally vast range of experience and skills to offer that are ready to hit the ground running; from FDs who’ve worked in private equity backed businesses, led corporate restructures or turnarounds to a candidate with a steady head for leadership to rebuild and motivate an unsettled department – and our candidates have worked in all sectors and industries and are based nationwide.”