According to Accountancy Magazine, investment banks, asset management firms and government agencies are hiring recently qualified graduates in high numbers, thanks to a shortage of qualified candidates for audit jobs. In fact, a July survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters showed that the vacancy rate for internal audit jobs is at its highest since 1995, and audit recruitment firms are scrambling to find qualified applicants.
There hasn’t been a better time to be seeking internal audit jobs in the UK in over ten years. The shortage of qualified graduate auditors and the increase in vacant audit jobs have combined to create a wide open field for newly qualified accountants. In addition, because of the shortage of applicants interested in audit jobs, audit recruitment firms and employers are offering higher bonuses and salaries than they have in years.
According to Morgan McKinley, a premier accountancy recruitment firm, the average annual bonus for auditors in all positions rose 5% last year. For the newly qualified in audit jobs, that meant a holiday bonus of up to 15% of their annual salary. For the top rung audit jobs in product control, the holiday bonus was as high as 25% of their annual salary. Even better, those annual salaries are looking up in the next year as well. In the same survey, employers who are recruiting for audit positions are willing to back their searches with more money and more benefits. The median starting salary for newly qualified graduates in an audit job is up over 5% – from £22,000 to £23,136. That’s just the beginning – a survey conducted by CareersinAudit.com predicts that salaries for auditor will rise as much as 25% over the next two to three years.
The reasons for the upturn in salaries and vacancies in audit jobs are many. During the recent downturn in the economy, many firms cut back their audit positions, and left off training programmes, contributing to a shortage of auditors in key positions. The slight depression and lowered wages led to fewer qualified graduates over the past ten years. The demand for more qualified audit professionals has grown over the past two years as a natural result of the upturn in the economy, but that’s only part of the equation.
The bigger part of the puzzle is the impact of the new regulations brought into place by Sarbanes-Oxley and IFRS. Firms recognize that they will need increased manpower to deal with compliance of the new rulings. As many as 80% of senior audit professionals surveyed by CareersinAudit.com believe that there needs to be an increase of up to 25% in the number of auditors in order to keep up with the new regulations.