Job cuts in the mortgage industry are prompting many workers to turn to the accounting industry for work, according to one staffing company.

The mortgage industry meltdown prompted mortgage companies to announce more than 20,000 job cuts in August and there have been 60,000 layoffs so far this year, leading many mortgage company employees to look for a change of career.

"We are seeing a high number of former mortgage professionals and displaced workers entering the finance field," said Janette Marx, senior vice president at the recruitment firm Ajilon Finance. "Some of the workers at the mortgage originators and funders are looking to enter a more stable career. They're looking at accounting because of high demand."

She pointed out that the American Institute of CPAs predicts that by 2020 nearly 75 percent of its membership will be retired. Accountants therefore will be even more in demand as time goes on, especially ones who are familiar with regulatory issues, in addition to financial reporting and taxes.

While the stability of an accounting career can be attractive to workers who are accustomed to being paid on commission, pay cuts will be an issue for others.

"Some of the displaced workers are used to making six figures," noted Marx. "In corporate accounting and finance, it's a flat salary and you have to step into that knowing you want to take that career path."

She said the mortgage workers who do best are those with transferable skills. For example, if they already have an accounting degree and some experience in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, it's easier for them to make the transition. Others have an easier time going into related fields like insurance and financial services.

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