The Effects of Employment on Academic Performance of Australian Accounting Students

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The Effects of Employment on Academic Performance of
Australian Accounting Students

Dr Anura De Zoysa
School of Accounting and Finance
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW 2500
Australia
Tel: 61 2 42215382
Fax: 61 2 42214297
E-mail: anura@uow.edu.au

And

Dr Kathy Rudkin
School of Accounting and Finance
University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW 2500
Australia
Tel: 61 2 42213148
Fax: 61 2 42214297
E-mail: krudkin@uow.edu.au

The Effects of Employment on Academic Performance of
Australian Accounting Students

ABSTRACT
This study examines factors that impact students engaged in paid employment while studying in a tertiary accounting program in a regional Australian university. It examines the differences in experience of domestic and international students. No direct significant relationship was found between paid employment and academic performance for the overall study sample. There was a positive relationship found between paid employment and academic performance with respect to domestic students. However, in the case of international students a negative relationship between paid employment and academic performance was observed. A significant positive relationship between a shift work pattern of paid employment and academic performance was found.

The Effects of Employment on Academic Performance of
Australian Accounting Students

1. Introduction
This study makes a contribution to the literature identifying and examining the factors that impact student performance in tertiary accounting programs. Much of this existing literature is located within the United Kingdom and North American institutions. Documented factors in these studies include the impact of gender, prior knowledge of accounting, academic aptitude, mathematical background, previous working experience, age, class size and class attendance. However, more recently, observations of accounting academics suggest a new factor to be examined in the Australian context, the socio-economic circumstances as represented by their need for paid employment of accounting students. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in recent times more students are now working while studying, reducing the time available and quality of their efforts towards their accounting studies, for example many students miss or do not prepare for classes. University administrators have noted concern about student work patterns and student availability to spend time on their studies and participate in the university community life (Rudkin and De Zoysa 2007).

The contribution of this paper is to examine the impact of paid employment while studying on the academic performance of students in an accounting program in Australia. The impact is examined differentiating between domestic and international accounting students. This dichotomy is significant because there is currently a large international student enrolment in accounting programs in Australian universities driven by government immigration policy to address a skills shortage (Birrell and Rapson 2005). There is also a shortage in meeting the demand for accounting graduates in the domestic industry coinciding with a shift in the funding mechanisms for Australian domestic university students in recent years. The impact of the market demand for a skilled workforce and the effects of existing student funding on work participation requires analysis. This paper investigates two aspects; first whether there is a relationship between paid employment and student performance, and secondly if there is a difference between the experiences of domestic and international students in paid employment and academic performance. Survey data of 170 enrolled students enrolled in a third year 12 credit point financial accounting subject at the University of Wollongong in the autumn session of 2006 was collected for this study.

2. Prior Research
There have been few studies...
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