CPA Study Highlights Hoosier ‘Brain Drain’ Problem

I was born and raised right here in Indiana. I love living here. Okay, sometimes I would do anything to be able to run down to the beach on my days off, but truly, I wouldn’t think about living anywhere else.

There are so many positives to being a Hoosier, including the cost of living – I’m actually able to save money instead of throwing it away every month on rent that is way too high. Our state government is doing pretty well, meaning our taxes are lower than many other states. People are welcoming and friendly. We have wonderful small towns and a beautiful landscape all around us.

That’s why I’ve never truly understood the reasoning behind Indiana’s so-called “brain drain,” where native Hoosiers, or those who come to study here, move away as soon as they’re done with school. I recognize that one reason they’re so apt to abandon Indiana is because of the lack of job opportunities in the past, but it seems that we’re making great strides in attracting and retaining businesses and jobs.

But, a recent study by the Indiana CPA Society shows yet another increase in the percentage of accounting students who are planning to leave the state following graduation. In 2010, the percentage of students who were planning to stay was around 44%. In 2011, that decreased to just over 37%. Those who said they would stay and work for one to five years decreased from 34.5% in 2010 to over 28% in 2011. However, the percentage of students who are planning to stay in Indiana for five to 10 years doubled from the previous year.

The survey offered some other findings as well, such as the fact that public accounting is the top career choice for students, even though that percentage has declined over the past three years. Compensation is also a key for CPA students, as it was ranked the most important consideration for students as they choose a potential employer.

That study doesn’t account for all students across the state, just a small portion, but it gives us a good glimpse into the fact that retaining top talent is still something that needs to be a No. 1 priority.