How are they choosing to engage with employers and what is their social media of choice when it comes to acquiring information about careers? What are they doing to boost their employability? You may be one of the would-be accountants who scored slightly higher than the average student when asked if they agreed with the statement ‘I’m worried about my future career’ (64% vs 60%). However, whether you have concerns about your career prospects or not, it’s always useful to know what you’re up against. TARGETjobs can help you find out how you stack up against the competition.
We’ve looked at the results of the Graduate Survey 2018, the largest and most comprehensive investigation of students’ attitudes towards their job hunts in the UK, so that you can see how you measure up against students who are also interested in getting careers in accountancy and financial management after they graduate. You can find the results in a handy infographic, below.
The Graduate Survey is conducted by Trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ owner Group GTI. 73,517 students took part – here, we focus on the results from those students who expressed an interest in working for accountancy and financial management employers.
These are some of the most interesting facts we’ve discovered about your competition:
1. Graduate accountancy candidates favour LinkedIn over other social media
An impressive 84% of students interested in graduate careers in accountancy choose LinkedIn over other social media when it comes to looking for a career. This, the second highest percentage out of all the sectors we surveyed (only consulting is higher, at 86%), suggests that if you’re not on LinkedIn yet, it might be a good idea to check it out. If you get a LinkedIn account, you connect with accountancy professionals, alumni from your university and professional accountancy bodies – all of whom boast a strong presence on LinkedIn. This will help to keep you in the loop and able to impress interviewers with up-to-date sector knowledge. Make sure you read our advice on how to set up and make the most of your account.
2. Students like to engage with recruiters via careers fairs and their university careers service
Would-be accountants’ top two methods of engaging with recruiters are through visiting stands at careers fairs and via their careers services. Not investigated either of these? Here’s your push to find out what you could be missing. You can learn so much about what it’s like to work at an employer through having a chat with someone who is already working there, and it could even be a chance for you to impress a recruiter. We’ve got advice on how to create the best impression when it comes to meeting recruiters at events.
3. Accountancy candidates like to go big and global
The majority of students interested in graduate accountancy careers want to work at a large international firm, 35% of those surveyed (only 18% want to work for a large UK-based firm and 10% at an SME). The good news is that most of the accountancy and professional services firms advertising on TARGETjobs have a global presence, and almost all accountancy qualifications are recognised worldwide. There are many other factors you should consider, however, other than size, when looking for the employer who will suit you best, such as training opportunities, study packages and culture – check out the employer hubs on TARGETjobs for starters, to get a sense of the different types of employers.
4. Internships are a popular choice
Just over a third of students interested in accountancy careers will have completed an internship for two or more months – 36% – by their final year. This is slightly higher than the average (33%), but remember some students may have completed shorter internships or insight days etc. For many students, a formal internship is their first introduction to the world of accountancy. Internships are an opportunity to get to know the sector, network and see whether an employer or a type of work is a good fit. There is no need to panic if you are one of many students who has not done an internship, however – we’ve got plenty of advice for you too!
- Getting work in an accountancy firm
- Why you shouldn't panic if you haven't got an accountancy internship
5. Business/management, economics and politics are the top three degrees of choice for would-be graduate accountants
The top six most common subjects of study for students interested in accountancy careers are: business management, economics, politics, maths, history/philosophy and language, literature and classics… quite a mixed bunch! Don’t panic if your degree is outside of these – this doesn’t mean that these are the degrees most sought by accountancy and financial management recruiters. Most recruiters at accountancy and professional services firms we speak to say that that they welcome students from all degree backgrounds for the majority of their schemes (always check, however – there are exceptions). So, if you studied one of these six subjects, you can rest assured you’re in good company. And if you didn’t, you know you'll be bringing a welcome difference into the mix!
More than half of students interested in accounting careers say that a good work/life balance is very important to them. There will be crunch periods if you work in accountancy – for example, if you work in tax you are likely to be really busy around January when tax returns are due – but generally speaking the work/life balance in accountancy is acknowledged to be better than it is in other areas of finance such as investment banking and consultancy. Also, flexible working and corporate social responsibility opportunities are becoming more popular in every sector, including accountancy. It can of course depend on the role you do and the employer you work for. But in general, if you want a graduate career in accountancy or financial management, you must be prepared to travel, and for the first three years, combine study with work. Check out the employers that interest you to see what they offer.