Career Paths and Compensation for Accounting Graduates
Accounting Horizons, American Accounting Association
69 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021
Date Written: February 15, 2021
This paper reports financial and career outcomes following a degree in accounting using a large cross-sectional and time-series survey of one university’s alumni. We extend the work of prior researchers by examining outcomes throughout accounting graduates’ careers, which include positions outside of public accounting. We find that starting salaries are positively associated with graduate degrees, working for a Big N firm and starting in a non-audit/tax specialty. Though most graduates begin in public accounting, they typically work for three different employers and assume non-accounting/leadership roles early in their careers. Current salaries are positively related to Big N experience, years employed, starting in a non-audit/tax specialty, and having children, while they are negatively related to number of employers. Graduate degree coefficients are insignificant in current salary regressions. Whereas we do not see gender effects for starting salaries, we see significantly large negative effects for women in the current salary analysis.
Keywords: Educational outcomes, accounting graduates, starting salary, current salary, income, graduate degree, Big 4, gender wage gap, auditing, tax, survey
JEL Classification: I26, J31, L84, M41, M42
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