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Trends in graduate recruitment in accountancy, financial management and professional services

Find out what employers are looking for in the constantly growing accountancy, financial management and professional services sector.

There is good news for graduates in the accountancy and professional services sector as 58% of employers surveyed said they expect to increase the amount of graduates they hire in 2014, while the rest said they would hire the same amount.

The increase is due to projected growth across the sector, according to this year’s Graduate Recruitment and Employability Survey, conducted by AHECS.

“The accountancy sector has remained a big graduate employer even in the depth of the economic crisis. I see this continuing as we are moving into other areas and expanding our business into new markets”, said one of major employers surveyed.

Disciplines

The trend comes as employers are seeking graduates from an increasingly diverse set of disciplines. While the traditional areas like Commerce, Law and Engineering remain the strongest in terms of hiring, 29% of employers surveyed have hired from Arts/Humanities backgrounds, 71% from IT, 29% from Science even 14% from Agriculture according to this research.

Employers also outlined what they are looking for in graduates. A minimum requirement remains a Level 8 Honours Degree, while more specific criteria is sought for graduates to stand out and get on the shortlist for competitive places.

Academic results and proven employability skills are the significant criteria with 71% saying they were the most important.

With regards employability skills, employers identified awareness and communication literacy particularly as the most important followed by teamwork, problem solving and having a positive attitude.

Recommendations

Employers also pointed out several specific recommendations they are looking for from potential employers while still in college.

Employers highlighted involvement in clubs and societies helps students learn about responsibility, communication and time management, while keeping up to date with business news and being commercially aware are also viewed as increasingly very important.

Employers also like to see proactive applicants who go to employer events, workshops and talks throughout their time at university, while seeking out internships is seen as invaluable in developing commercial awareness and establishing professional connections.

“To secure a job they need to be a good all-rounder, achieve good academic results, get work experience (internships) and also show involvement in other activities (voluntary bodies, societies, clubs etc.)”, a leading employer told the survey.

Download the AHECS Graduate Recruitment and Employability Survey 2013 here