Changing Perceptions of Auditors
Internal auditing jobs used to have a rather dull reputation but nowadays there are some exciting and challenging roles out there for those with the right experience and qualifications.
The internal auditors you meet nowadays are far more upbeat and enthusiastic about their roles- and with good reason. Their salary and status are increasing in line with a growing awareness that their work is imperative to the companies they work for. They are highly valued, in demand and in short supply. Now is a great time to be a qualified internal auditor and it would seem even in today’s rather difficult economy, there are still a plentiful supply of audit jobs.
Salary and benefit levels vary widely across sectors, but are still on the increase. Strong demand for internal auditors with the right skills is what employers are looking to recruit. IT auditors are particularly in demand.
So what skills are employers looking for?
An employment market survey published by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) reveals some interesting insights into the auditing sector and employment trends. Firstly, the survey showed that sector-specific experience isn’t always necessary, but it clearly will help. The survey revealed that two thirds of respondents unsurprisingly valued sector experience when recruiting internal auditors. This was particularly prevalent in financial services and the public sector.
Qualifications are also important and again, this will apply to the particular sector you are interested in. However, qualifications are not the be all & end all, and employers have stated they also looked for personality and soft skills, rather than just technical ability. Those in HR who responded to the survey stated they valued people who could build relationships within their organisations. As a result, the good news for internal auditors who have the right mix of skills, qualifications and experience is clear and the recruitment market reflects this.
Now more than ever, businesses are worried their finances and about poor internal control. Reputational damage and internal management are all on the board agenda at organisations across the private and public sector. These are all issues that businesses are keen to address and where internal auditors have something to contribute.
Not surprisingly, most of the employers in the survey said recruitment and retention of audit staff was a top priority, with the majority saying that the internal audit department did not have the manpower it needed to meet the organisation’s expectations.
This huge demand for internal audit expertise is great news for those looking to move jobs, but less so for those who would rather stay put. If you are thinking of changing career have a look at our Careers Advice centre for help and tips on taking the next step.
Another interesting insight into the auditing industry that was revealed by the survey is that a third of people working in internal audit at the time they were asked want to get a new job in the next six months. Most of them stated they want to stay within the profession, but they want to be working for someone else. Something to consider if you are responsible for looking after your staff well being at work.
According to the survey, only half of the heads of internal audit expected to stay in the profession for the rest of their working lives. Why is this? It was not implied that this was due to any misgivings about internal audit as a career. Many of those who wanted to leave expressed they were hoping to move into senior management positions, such as board director. This has always been recognised as a popular reason for getting into internal audit in the first place due to the long term prospects it offers.
This all suggests that employers should be focusing their attention on their audit staff and making plans ensure their workplace satisfaction by offering a more attractive salary and benefits packages.