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Good News for Graduates: Hiring Outlook Remains Strong in 2008

Dec 2007/Jan 2008 The demand for accounting and finance professionals is expected to remain high in 2008. According to the 2008 Salary Guide from Robert Half International, this is due in part to efforts by public accounting and consulting firms as well as private industry to expand their menu of financial services to include positions such as mergers and acquisitions, litigation, forensic accounting and fraud investigations. The fierce competition for talent in these increasingly important roles is good news for recent graduates and those just entering the field of finance and accounting.

Campus recruiting is on the rise as well. Firms are offering students significant internship opportunities in an effort to enlarge their pool of potential hires.

In response to rising demand, employers are also bolstering their compensation packages. According to the 2008 Salary Guide, this includes generous signing bonuses, more flexible work arrangements and a wider array of career path options.

Other key findings reported in the 2008 Salary Guide include:

  • Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase an average of 4.3 percent.
  • Entry-level financial, budget, treasury and cost analysts at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) are expected to see the biggest increases in base pay in 2008, with the average starting salary expected to rise 6.9 percent, to between $38,250 and $47,500 annually.
  • Public accountants with one to three years of experience also are highly sought as firms look to address rising workloads and hire their next generation of leaders. At small firms (up to $25 million in sales), professionals at this stage of their careers can expect a 7.7 percent increase in average starting salaries, to a range of $44,750 to $53,250.
  • Steady hiring is expected to continue in public accounting as firms seek staff to help deliver an expanding set of service offerings.

In addition, candidates with graduate degrees and professional certifications can expect a 10 percent increase in their compensation. A job seeker who also has the right mix of industry knowledge and interpersonal skills will be in especially high demand.

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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