The Washington Post is reporting this week that the job market has never looked better for accounting graduates. Citing increased scrutiny of public companies by the PCAOB and the SEC and the impending retirement of thousands of baby boomers from the workforce, it appears that there is no immediate end in site to the demand for accountants.
A recent report by the Greater Washington Board of Trade in Washington, D.C., indicated that colleges and universities are unable to keep up with demand. In 2005, Washington area schools graduated 1,060 accounting degree holders, about 700 short of the number of vacancies available to the grads. During the same time period, community colleges in the area issued 100 associate degrees in accounting, not nearly enough to fill the 1,240 vacancies.
Meanwhile, the Post reports that the Big Four firms have nearly tripled their recruiting staffs and budgets in the past three years. Recruiters are vying for the attention of students with early job offers, lavish parties, give-aways, and promises of rapid promotion.
"These firms are so crunched for workers that they've become really aggressive in their recruiting," said Lindsay Terry, who works in the office of career management at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. "Students are getting serious internships by the time they're sophomores. The top seniors have had jobs lined up for years -- and that's after deciding between 12 offers."