Job Growth Exists In Specific Fields, UH Bauer Profs Say

Published on March 30, 2009
Companies are hiring graduates in the internal auditing and decision and information sciences fields.

Companies are hiring graduates in the internal auditing and decision and information sciences fields.

The economy may be putting a damper on career plans for many spring college graduates, but the bleak hiring forecast doesn’t extend across all occupations. Students with degrees in Internal Auditing or in fields that fall under the Decision and Information Sciences realm are proving to be exceptions in an otherwise dismal job market for spring college graduates.

“A lot of majors are really hurting right now from the recession. We aren’t,” said Jaana Porra, Associate Professor of Decision and Information Sciences at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business. “When you have a specific skill you have a very direct way of getting a job.”

Both occupations ranked in the top 10 fastest growing professions in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest forecast. Even taking into account the impact current economic conditions will have on the actual rate of increase, both professions expect growth, in contrast with the massive layoffs and job freezes occurring in other sectors.

The increased need for internal auditors comes as business and government leaders are calling for more transparent business practices. Demand was also created by the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, which required public companies to have internal audit controls in an effort to curb corporate accounting fraud.

Jobs in Decision and Information Sciences, which include computer systems analysts, management analysts and supply chain managers, are also growing as businesses re-examine all aspects of operation that can enhance their bottom line. Several of those occupations also topped a 2009 salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Last month alone, 20 students at Bauer declared a second major in supply chain, which refers to the network of companies involved in producing, handling and distributing a specific product as efficiently as possible. In the past, the field has had problems recruiting students unfamiliar with the field, but now they are listening, says Michael Parks, Associate Professor of DISC at Bauer.

“You have to have a skill. I tell them, a degree is not a strategy. What can you actually do, so that an employer will hire you?’’

A growing demand for audit professionals is another bright spot for hiring.

A growing demand for audit professionals is another bright spot for hiring.

In all of these fields, internships are almost always involved when a student is hired. “With an internship program, they (corporations) get a look, and they can have a hand in training,” Parks said. “A lot of our students have been handed job offers when their internship is over.”

The Internal Auditing program at Bauer, which also has a close alliance with the businesses that hire students, was recently recognized as a Partner of the Internal Auditing Education Partnership Program for its development of internal auditing and risk coursework. IAEPP names select college programs to one of three categories: Basic, Partner and Center of Excellence. Just 17 other schools have earned the Partner designation. Bauer has also “laid the foundation to become a Center of Excellence,” according to Santos Monroy, president of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Houston Chapter. Only five schools in the world currently share that distinction.

“Membership in the IAEP sets an academic program apart from the others and demonstrates that its students possess the knowledge, skills and experience to smoothly transition into the role of professional internal auditors,” said Michael Newman, Director of Professional Accounting Programs & Clinical Professor, Department of Accountancy & Taxation. Classes added this fall will enable Bauer undergraduate students to earn a Certificate in Internal Auditing. Graduate students have the option of earning a Risk Track Certificate.

“Corporations, the public and our federal and state governments are requesting an increase in assurance, risk and compliance services,” Monroy said. “New regulations continue to increase corporate transparency and leadership accountability. This will increase the demand for Audit, Risk Compliance and IT Security professionals.”

By Julie Bonnin