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16/04/2013

Should IT and engineering graduates take up jobs in Accounting and Finance?

There has been a recent trend in Kenya, and also globally, where science, IT, and engineering graduates end up working in jobs in the business, finance, and accounting fields. But if you are an engineering graduate, should you jump ship to the financial world if you get an opportunity? First, here’s why many Science, Technology, Math, and engineering graduates end up taking jobs in the Finance field.

1. Jobs in finance and accounting pay better.
Firms like Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, KRA, and Ernst &Young, pay far much better than engineering companies in industrial area, some of which offer salaries as low as 15,000 per month for fresh university graduates.

2. The skill sets required are the same.
Since engineering is primarily a math and quantitative discipline, many engineers take to numbers like fish to water. With just a few months of training on basic accounting and finance essentials, they are ready to hit the
ground running. For the savvy ones that did CPA or ACCA in their college years, they can begin work immediately.

3. It takes much longer to be promoted in engineering jobs.
These days, it’s not hard to find a young finance or accounting senior manager in their late twenties to early thirties. However, one would be hard pressed to find a senior engineering manager who is below 40 years. Of course, the converse is also true, that many jobs in the finance field are also fluid, and one could lose their job at any moment. However, the potential rewards of riches far outweigh the need for job security for many of today’s engineering graduates.

4. Engineering companies prefer diploma graduates to degree graduates.
Many engineering employers complain that university graduates rarely want to make their hands dirty, and look down upon tasks such as welding, or other tasks essential to any engineering work. So, increasingly, diploma graduates are favoured, as they seem to work their butts off, to the ‘seemingly hot headed’ graduates.

In summary; the trend of engineers’ being hired in banks, insurance, and finance fields is not going to stop anytime soon. However, some engineering fields are also proving to be lucrative. For example, some energy companies like KenGen, Kenya Power, Geothermal development Company and Kentracco pay far much better salaries, sometimes near the six range figure as starting salaries. Equally, some lines within engineering, like IT, computer, and Telecommunication engineering, and Civil and construction engineering, will continue to grow, and lure away many of the engineering graduates from the finance field.

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