An investigation into accounting and business students’ employability beliefs

Kim Kercher*, James Todd, Chelsea Gill, Dawn Bennett, Adrian Gepp

*Corresponding author for this work

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The accounting profession is challenged by professional shortages, declining university enrolments, and uncertainty about the profile of future accountants regarding technological advancements. It is thus timely to investigate the employability beliefs of accounting students in higher education throughout Australia. This study employed a multi-factor self-assessment of perceived employability (PE) grounded in social cognitive career theory to investigate the PE of accounting students (n = 3116) relative to other business students (n = 4973), and across degree progression. Compared with their business peers, accounting students reported greater program awareness, but their perceived communication skills, emotional intelligence, and ethical and responsible behaviour were lower than their business peers. Accounting students became more likely to reconsider their choice of program as they progressed, with accounting students in their third year or later less confident in terms of self-awareness, program awareness, the perceived relevance of their program, and their perceived ethical and responsible behaviour. The discipline-specific comparisons extend previous research and indicate that employability initiatives should be embedded early in accounting curricula to enhance students’ PE, career understanding, and related skillsets. The potential to enhance accounting students’ PE, and thus improve academic achievement, persistence, and employment outcomes is relevant to educators, curriculum managers and accreditation bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalAccounting Education
Early online date4 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024


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