Accountants are kings among U.S. 2005 graduates



Accountants are kings among U.S. 2005 graduates

Sun Jun 5, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While it is not quite the days of the dot-com boom,
when companies lured graduates with promises of six-figure salaries and
ping-pong tables in the workplace, corporate recruiters are once again
combing campuses for the best of the Class of 2005.

"People ask me all the time 'So you graduated, are you looking for a job?'
And I'm like: 'I already have one,"' said Pauline Livaditis, a 22-year-old
accounting graduate who was hired by Ernst & Young before she finished
school in May.

"The friends I had classes with all have jobs -- they were recruited on
campus," said Livaditis, who graduated with a combined Masters of Business
Administration and accounting degree from St. John's University in New York.

Hot degrees in 2005 included business administration, management and
electrical or mechanical engineering, according to a survey by the National
Association of Colleges and Employers. But no degree is more in demand than
accounting, where the starting salary averages $44,564.

"The market is very, very robust, and so we need many, many accountants,"
said Karen Glover, director of recruiting at Ernst & Young. "A great person
will have many offers."

Demand for accountants and auditors soared after Congress passed the
Sarbanes-Oxley reporting rules in 2002 in response to high-profile scandals
that brought companies like Enron and WorldCom to their knees.

Glover said Ernst & Young is looking to hire 4,500 accounting graduates this
year, up 30 percent from last year. To lure new hires, it has boosted
benefits -- including a concierge service for employees too busy to run

"(Graduates) are in a very competitive space right now where you have lots
of opportunities and choices of where you go to start your career," Glover


The recruitment process begins early. Livaditis began a paid internship at
Ernst & Young two years before graduation, and she is just one of at least
15 of her classmates snapped up by the accounting giant. She says different
companies were on campus every week trying to lure new hires.

But it's not just accounting grads who are in demand.

A recent survey by Monster, the top job-search Web site, found 80 percent of
companies with 5,000 employees or more planned to hire 2005 graduates and 90
percent with 10,000 employees or more saying they would do so.

Top entry-level jobs for America's estimated 1.2 million graduates this year
included sales, administrative and support, customer service, and
advertising and marketing, the survey showed.

"For graduates, this certainly means there are more opportunities to gain
entry-level experience than we've seen in the past four years," said Steve
Pogorzelski, Monster's North America president.

Official unemployment is also down. The jobless rate for 20- to 24-year-olds
fell to 8.8 percent in May, the lowest level since July 2001, the Labor
Department said on Friday. While that's well above the overall 5.1 percent
jobless rate, it is a marked improvement from 9.7 percent a year ago and a
whopping 10.4 percent in 2003 -- when getting a job after graduation was an
uphill battle.

The improvement in the job market has not been lost on college seniors.

Pogorzelski said 83 percent of grads expected "at least one" job offer upon
graduation this year. Last year, 51 percent of college seniors did not
expect a single job offer.

For Livaditis, who started her studies five years ago, just as the economy
was tipping into recession, the easy slide into her chosen career has been a
very pleasant surprise.

"It has just worked out really well -- in the sense that I will always have
a job," she said.


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