Small-to-medium sized businesses are stealing a march on the Goliaths of the corporate world by scooping up the best and brightest university graduates.
Blue-chip employers who once had their pick of raw recruits in areas such as commerce, accounting and law are now facing a critical skills shortage as their smaller competitors go all out to attract qualified employees by offering lucrative packages combining substantial salaries, benefits and the opportunity for rapid advancement.
“Suddenly we have a situation where the major banks, financiers, accountants and legal firms have more jobs than they can fill,” said Steven Asnicar, CEO of blue-chip recruitment specialists, Urban Executive.
“There has been a dynamic shift in employment trends over the last four years where small-to-medium sized enterprises have quite literally sucked up the pool of employees.
“Thanks to advances in e-commerce and information/communication technologies, companies that were once limited to a local or even national area of operation are now moving into the global marketplace.
“Consequently, they are employing far more people and paying higher salaries, competing with the larger organisations for the top university graduates.”
Recruiting for blue-chip corporates in accounting, finance, government, banking and law, Mr Asnicar says that the most sought-after qualifications include commerce, accounting and law degrees.
“There is a huge demand for graduates in these areas and particularly for applicants with a double degree in any combination of those three disciplines.”
The demand is graphically demonstrated on key national job search websites with seek.com listing over 14,000 jobs in accounting, 6600 in banking and finance and close to 5000 in legal in early September. Similarly, careerone.com.au lists over 10,000 in accounting, almost 9000 in banking and finance and 3800 in legal.
Universities, too, are feeling the effects as the major corporate HR representatives and recruitment agencies come knocking on their doors.
“Most of the calls we’re getting are from top quality firms looking for Bachelor of Commerce graduates,” said Kirsty Mitchell, Employment Services Specialist at Bond University’s Career Development Centre.
“They specifically want employees who have the broader skills base that this degree offers along with a major in accounting, business economics, finance or property and development.
“They are also looking for graduates who know what the business world is all about; they want people with work experience, negotiation skills and leadership qualities who are ready to hit the ground running, which is exactly what they say distinguishes Bond graduates from all others.”
Ms Mitchell says that the skills shortage presents a significant opportunity for Year 12 students who are currently looking at their university options.
“Bond’s three-semesters-per-year schedule puts students in the best position to strike while the iron is hot and enter the employment market sooner,” she said.
“They can graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce in two years or a double degree in three years, enabling them to take full advantage of the skills shortage while it is still a critical issue for the top end employers.
“Basically any school-leavers who choose a Commerce degree at Bond should have their choice of high flying career opportunities when they graduate in two years’ time.”