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New Internal Audit Foundation Report Finds Changing Risk Landscape Will Require Shift in Hiring Trends

Press Release The IIA Apr 29, 2024

Global survey of internal audit hiring managers and collegiate educators reveals key factors to identify and attract talent

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 29, 2024) – The recruitment and hiring landscape for internal audit must evolve to ensure the profession keeps pace with a changing risk environment. That’s according to the results of a new report ‘Fueling the Internal Audit Student Talent Pipeline: Perspectives from Educators and Practitioners’ released at the Global Student Conference by the Internal Audit Foundation, sponsored by Deloitte.

The increasing need for new skills in areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence necessitates that internal audit teams cast a wider net for new recruits to ensure that the talent pipeline remains robust and capable of carrying the profession into the future.

According to the report, hiring managers tend to seek recent college graduates who have studied accounting (80%), followed by those from auditing (53%) and business (44%). Comparatively, computer science or information technology accounted for 43%, suggesting that a background in technology is of growing importance to internal audit hiring managers. The results from the survey also revealed that the most essential skills hiring teams look for – outside of experience and education – include business communication (78%), data analytics (53%), internal auditing (47%), and ethics or organizational governance (46%).

“In today’s competitive job market, we are seeing some of the softer skills related to leadership and communication being prioritized by hiring managers,” said Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP, President and CEO of The Institute of Internal Auditors. “As evidenced in the report, internal audit is competing with some of the biggest names across the tech sector for graduates with backgrounds in AI, cybersecurity and data analytics. The profession needs to work closely with educators to ensure the pipeline of incoming talent has the skills required to stay ahead of a rapidly changing risk environment.”

The report also reveals that hiring managers may be limiting themselves to the conventional internal audit talent pool of the accounting and business sectors despite the changing needs of the profession, which demand a stronger emphasis on education and experience within the emerging technology and information or data technology sectors. As such, the data suggests that internal audit employers should explore recruiting recent college graduates beyond the traditional accounting pool.

“For many years, internal audit competed with accounting to bring new talent into the profession. We’ve seen that play out with many CAEs holding a CPA license,” said Pugliese. “Yet the evolving technology and risk landscape has expedited the need for internal audit to expand its talent and recruitment pool, and that’s one reason why The IIA recognizes recent college graduates as some of the most promising candidates, thanks to their familiarity with technology and confidence tackling new technological change.”

Developing and implementing new training approaches that combine education with practical experience in new skill areas will better position students for successful careers in the internal audit profession. Hiring managers have an opportunity to collaborate with educators to expand the pool of internal audit graduates and new hires through active participation in on-campus recruitment and networking events. Fostering deeper engagement in academic settings will help pave the way for a more comprehensive approach to talent expansion.

Additional Findings

  • More than half of the respondents reported that they have hired a recent college graduate for an entry-level (staff) position within the last five years, suggesting more internal audit functions are hiring new graduates.
  • Of the 42% of respondents who indicated that their internal audit function had not hired any recent college graduates, more than half said they preferred to hire internal auditors with prior experience, underscoring the importance of hands-on experience.
  • Among respondents who offer internships, 74% said that their internships are designed to encourage future employment within the internal audit function.

"When it comes to employment opportunities for new graduates, it’s refreshing to see a greater emphasis on the role internships play in providing real-world professional experience and promoting future employment,” said Pugliese.

The IIA offers a host of academic resources for students interested in pursuing a career in internal audit. These resources include a career center to help candidates find new job opportunities as well as online guides for landing internships and honing the necessary skills to build a successful career in the internal audit profession. The Pipeline report is also a great resource for internal audit students and includes a guide detailing a successful path from classroom to career for future internal audit leaders.

About the Student Talent Pipeline Report

The two surveys pertaining to the Student Talent Pipeline report collectively garnered 369 responses and were directed at educators and hiring managers, both members of The IIA and non-members. Further, insights were gathered through focus group sessions held during the 2023 American Accounting Association annual meeting and at The IIA’s 2024 Great Audit Minds Conference. The purpose of the report is to provide educators and internal audit hiring managers with actionable insights and recommendations for how to promote an expanded flow of talent into the internal audit profession. It is also meant to serve as a resource by highlighting the various tools and guides provided by the Internal Audit Foundation and The IIA.

Download the full Pipeline report.

About the Internal Audit Foundation

The Internal Audit Foundation, supported by the generosity of its donors, advances the practice of the profession by executing global research to explore issues impacting the profession and funding academic initiatives that support the pursuit and promotion of internal audit education within institutions of higher education.

About The Institute of Internal Auditors and the Internal Audit Profession

Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value, improve an organization’s operations, and help organizations meet their goals. Internal auditors are strategic business partners who bring an in-depth understanding of business culture, systems, and processes, which helps them evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.

The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) is an international professional association that serves more than 245,000 global members and has awarded more than 195,000 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications worldwide. Established in 1941, The IIA is recognized throughout the world as the internal audit profession's leader in standards, certifications, education, research, and technical guidance.

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Media Contacts

Sarah DuBois
The Institute of Internal Auditors

James Schiavone


The Institute of Internal Auditors