Will Accounting Candidates be Hard to Find This Year?

There are many fields that have been stagnate, or shown no signs of growth, over the past four years – during what is being called the Great Recession. The accounting field is one that isn’t among that number. In fact, this is one field that is experiencing significant growth. In the final quarter of 2011, there were more than 64,000 jobs listed online for accountants and/or auditors in the US. While that may not seem like earth shattering numbers, it does represent a growth of 25 percent over the same quarter one year before.

Believe it or not, larger cities that have the largest number of job openings for accountants and auditors also often have the smallest pool of talent from which to draw.

Why is that?

It’s the result of the fact that so many people assume the larger cities will produce a greater number of qualified applicants. This means that a greater number of advertisements are made for these specific cities. It results in a lower number of applicants for each position that is advertised rather than a greater number.

What’s the solution for recruiters and hiring managers?

Think outside the big cities. You don’t want to look too far outside the cities but you do want to go to slightly smaller talent pools within easy commuting distance in order to attract a greater number of applicants for the jobs that are available.

In New York, for instance, there may be well over 100,000 accountants who are actively seeking work. But, there are nearly 8,000 positions listed in the area. This dilutes the talent pool to the point where the average number of applicants for each available position would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 12. However, if you look outside the city and consider nearby areas such as Syracuse, Utica, Kingston, or Poughkeepsie you face fewer competing advertisements and a larger pool of potential candidates for consideration.

It might seem like this is a long-winded way of saying that accounting positions will be hard to find this year. But that really isn’t the case at all. There are excellent candidates available you just have to step outside of the largest concentration of candidates in order to truly cast a wider net.  It defies conventional wisdom to some degree but once you put the numbers on paper and think it through; it makes perfect sense.

We are fortunate that there appears to be a great deal of growth within the field of accounting. The goal is to keep the numbers in this and many other fields growing in coming years. The bottom line is that it isn’t necessary to look long and hard to find qualified accounting candidates for the open accounting positions. You just have to think outside the big box a little bit.

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