Wanted: Accounting Ph.D.s

If you are an employer, the job market for people with Ph.D.’s in Accounting is brutal.  Only a few programs graduate students and with an aging accounting faculty, the number of job openings far out-strips the supply of qualified candidates.   Salaries are rising rapidly and people unhappy at one institution can easily move to another.

To give you a sense of this: for the last two years we have tried to fill two faculty positions in accounting.  After interviewing nine people for those two positions and making several offers, we landed just one person (she is graduating from UCF by the way).  In the meantime, we had one accounting faculty member take a job at another university and had to offer big pay raises to two others just to keep them.  So after all that work, we are right back where we started:  still looking for two hires in Accounting!   And in case you think this is happening because we are cheap:  We now have assistant professors in accounting making more than the vast majority of our full professors in other departments. Think a total compensation package for brand new professors of $200K per year.

I know you accounting students tend to be more practically oriented than intellectually curious.  This is one of the reasons it is so hard to attract sufficient numbers of accounting students to pursue a Ph.D.  But research, particularly accounting research can be of great practical importance and a career in the academy can give you a combination of pay and autonomy that few other professions can match.

So if you don’t want to be a slave to the billable hour or give up your Friday nights to count inventory in some small town as you work your way up the bottom rungs of the professional ladder, consider continuing on to get your Ph.D.  You get better hours, high pay, the opportunity to influence the lives of your students, and the chance to do research that just might change how people do business.  It doesn’t really get any better than this.

One thought on “Wanted: Accounting Ph.D.s

  1. Dr. Jarley,
    I totally agree with you. This shortage in Accounting Ph.D will get worse as the baby boomers are retiring. For some reason acounting majors seem to be able to land a decent job easily with a BS and few people are willing to spend 2 years getting a Master’s in accounting and another 5-6 years getting a Ph.D. However if we can it possible for people with real world experience coming back to shool part time we will end up with more Accounting Ph.Ds that are both academically and professionally qualified.

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