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Accounting Study Work Experience Graduate Employment in Australia

From The Australian Higher Education:

 Work experience for overseas students challenges uni sector.  The frustration of international students as they try to get work experience is a key issue for Australia’s universities, education researchers say.


“Despite the significant demand for work experience, international students are largely frustrated by the lack of work experience opportunities.”

In a post on the website EduResearch Matters they outline key findings from an Australian Research Council study of international graduates and the Australian labour market.

With the growing importance being placed on work experience, English language and extra-curricular activities, international graduates require further opportunities to develop capacity in these areas and establish local networks in order to improve their chances of success in the labour market,” they say.

“This finding has implications for the Australian university sector (which) can play a key role in enhancing international graduates’ employability.

“English language proficiency is central to labour market success in both home and host countries and this study confirms that many international students require additional support to further develop their English language skills.

The Deakin researchers say that employers are looking beyond mere credentials for “graduates with a portfolio of experience that includes volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, excellent communication skills and relevant local work experience”.

They point out that in accounting, the dominant field for international students, there may be shortages of mid-level professionals with 5-10 years experience even if fresh graduates may find it hard to get a job. And big, well-known accounting firms may find it easier to fill positions than small firms.

Accounting has been at the centre of a long-running debate about university standards, especially to do with English language proficiency, the nature of any skill shortages, and the correct settings for migration policy. University enrolments and revenues have benefited greatly from the favoured status of accounting within the skilled migration system.

Deakin accounting professor Barry Cooper told the HES recently that notwithstanding the insistence of the professional bodies on the severity of a skill shortage, there was an argument that at least some of the supply included international graduates whose English was not good enough to secure a job.

“Get a cab in Melbourne and there’s a good chance the Indian driver has done a masters of professional accounting somewhere and can’t get a job,” he said.

However, he said fault also lay with employers.

“A lot of employers are quite insular. They take the view — you don’t have any local experience. Frankly, apart from tax law, accounting is much the same all around the world, and I think a lot of employers just don’t recognise that.’




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