Barden Career Model

Barden Part Qualified Career Guide Blog Series…Next Up YOUR Barden Career Model 

Are you a part qualified accountant and planning your professional future? If so, then this is the perfect blog series for you. Over the next few weeks we’ll share some excellent insights from the Barden Part Qualified Career Guide, which will help you plan and navigate your professional career.

Next Up…YOUR Barden Career Model

Barden Career Model


The Barden Career Model is a robust strategic model to help you plan your professional future.

Your Barden Career Model can be used in many ways – as a strategic tool to plan your career; as a reflective tool to compare hopes, dreams and aspirations with the reality of the external market; as a tool to help prepare your CV and prepare for interviews; and as a tool to help manage your salary negotiations. It’s robust, but you’ll only get out what you put in. Here’s how it works:


Imagine your job options as a circle. Let the centre of your circle represent the company and role where you’ll be perceived to add the most value and so, will be compensated the most for your time (i.e. paid more). “Perceived” is key, as this isn’t just about you. It’s about how a hiring manager will look at you compared to “the other guy”.

Your centre is most often a replica of your current role in your employer’s nearest competitor.

Say you’re working in a manufacturing company as an assistant financial accountant. It makes sense, then, that the easiest job for you to get out there will be as an assistant financial accountant in another manufacturing company. You’ll create value for the organisation straight away. However, there’ll likely be little value added to your experience. Jobs in your centre are easier to get and you get paid more to do them, but they’ll add very little to your career development.


Draw a smaller circle within the bigger circle and call that your near environment.

Your near environment contains companies and roles that have something in common with your centre. For example, if you’ve worked in a hospitality company, then retail, FMCG and property companies would be in your near environment. Why? Because these types of companies share things in common. This isn’t a purely linear process and you need to use your imagination to populate your near environment, as industries can’t be taken at face value.

Your far environment contains companies and roles that have less in common with your centre.


The Barden Career Model has two lines – your access curve and your learning curve.

The access curve represents the perception of your ability to do a job.

The learning curve represents the perception of the amount of learning there will be (i.e. how much a company will need to invest to get a return).

Your access curve begins to dip slowly as it moves through your near environment, dipping more sharply as you push out to your far environment. You’re less likely to get a job in your far environment, hence your access curve dips.

The difference or gap between your access and learning curve represents the value you will gain in making a move.


You can reshape your access curve (i.e. make roles in your far environment easier to access) by using trading variables, which is another term for compromise.

Compromise can come in the form of tactically reduced salary; working in more remote locations; availability to start immediately; role activity split; and willingness to take on a contract. In return for a compromise, you should gain learning in a new type of role or in a new type of company, pillar or industry.

Using your trading variables strategically can help you shift your centre to facilitate your preferred career moves.

The earlier you are in your career, the larger the area of your near environment and hence the easier it will be to move between different pillars and roles. Why?

Because the earlier you are in your career the less you are paid, the less of an investment/risk you are, the lower your competition and the higher the demand. As you gather specific experience, you’ll gain the ability to add more value and will cost more to employ.

Your competition will as well.


To view previous blogs in this series click the link below:

#1 – NEW Barden Part Qualified Guide Blog Series

#2 – Barden Part Qualified Career Blog Series…Next Up Organisational Structure

#3 – Barden Part Qualified Career Blog Series…Next Up Continuum of Activity

#4 – Barden Part Qualified Career Blog Series…Next Up Your Position on the Supply Chain


Need help achieving your ambitions?

Are you a part qualified accounting professional looking for help in achieving your ambitions? If so get in touch with our expert team today at They’re ready with lots of CV, LinkedIn, interview and career advice, along with cutting edge market insights to help you achieve your ambitions.















At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there!

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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