Accounting, financial services, healthcare, top employment sectors for grads this year but Iraq war could impact hiring

It’s going to be another tough year for grads looking for that perfect job they hope their newly minted degrees will help them nab. Though the war in Iraq could impact hiring, the outlook is still pretty good for business school grads, says Gregory Hutchings, associate dean and executive director of the Weston Career Resources Center (WCRC) at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Accounting, financial services, and healthcare are a few of the industries where Hutchings sees “pockets of opportunity.”

“There are no ‘hot’ employment sectors this year either geographically or by industry,” Hutchings says, “but there are discreet pockets of opportunity in a variety of industries across the country.”

Gregory Hutchings

Sectors where Hutchings sees real possibilities, especially for business administration and MBA grads this year, include:

Accounting: especially big accounting and auditing firms and corporations as they staff up with accounting majors as a result of the stiff new regulations following the corporate scandals of last year.

Financial services: especially commercial banking, mortgage related businesses, real estate, insurance and accounting.

Healthcare: especially medical products and devices, health care information services, and pharmacy benefit management.

Hutchings says other areas that are expected to hold up well for grads this year include consumer products, especially food and beverages. And he is starting to see some pick up in hiring in the technology sector.

But he says the war now raging in Iraq could impact spring hiring. “The war is definitely a factor in hiring now,” says Hutchings. “Just as it is impacting the overall economy, so goes hiring, but there are bright spots of opportunity if the war doesn’t drag on.”

The most important advice for grads this year? Hutchings says, “Know thyself.”

“Leverage your past work experience,” he says. “Employers want ‘trained’ job candidates in this type of competitive market. Focus on the specific position, industry, and function that you want; it requires you to really know yourself.”

Finally, Hutchings advises grads: “The job search is a marathon – not a sprint. Persistence and diligence wins the day; there are no quick short-cuts.”

The Olin School of Business offers pictures and profiles of its business administration and MBA grads to prospective employers online at: