Why are firms still struggling to recruit young talent, and how can they solve this problem in 2018?
Firms are struggling to recruit recent grads with a specific skill set - an accounting/finance and computer science background. There is a huge software skills gap with talent in the industry involving big data and data analytics. Big data touches all disciplines in both accounting and finance, and firms are struggling to recruit talent because most fresh grads don't have I.T. or computer science backgrounds and aren't ready to work with big data as it pertains to the field.
If skillset is important, and the company is seeking candidates with backgrounds in both accounting and finance and I.T. or computer science, we recommend firms seek talent from schools that have accounting and finance programs with information technology and computer science accreditations integrated into them. This can include schools that offer programs allowing students to double major or receive certifications in both areas, or offer accelerated master’s degree programs (usually 5 year programs) in accounting and finance and computer science. University of Iowa's Master of Finance program integrates big data into the degree requirements. University of Illinois has a similar program, as well as other Big 10 schools across the Midwest.
In addition, firms should focus on the elements that differentiates them from other firms. Actively communicate the key differentiators of the culture, training programs, work flex options and more that make the organization appealing.
What is your take on current recruiting activities in firms (internships, college visits, etc.)?
Career fairs generate brand awareness among talent and provide insight for companies. Beyond attending career fairs, firms should be building relationships with colleges and professors.
Internships offer job seekers and employers the opportunity to test drive a position before committing, and can be an opportunity for employers to close the skills gap a potential hire may have prior to bringing them on full-time. Interns at big firms are well-rounded in the field, and have less gaps in their knowledge compared to candidates without the intern experience. These interns are exposed to high level accounting concepts early in their career, which lays a solid foundation for them moving forward.
For more insights to recruit top talent, here’s the full article on Accounting Today.