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Corporate finance jobs, out of favor for so long during the dot.com boom, might have begun looking a lot more attractive following the bust. But, alas, the “creative accounting” of Enron’s Andy Fastow, WorldCom’s Scott Sullivan and Tyco’s Mark Swartz sullied the waters and, worse yet, led to the Sarbanes-Oxley era in which CFOs have to put their careers–and even their potential freedom–on the line every time they sign a financial report. “Graduates didn’t see the potential in corporate finance jobs to be that appealing anymore,” says Allen Geller, managing director of Raines International. “Private equity is now the way to go.”

As the world turned, corporations failed to correct the spin. A new Deloitte Consulting LLP survey shows that companies have made a hash out of recruitment. “It’s gotten much worse in the past five years because of a talent shortage coming out undergraduate schools and the negative hit of the scandals,” says Sam Silvers, who leads Deloitte Consulting’s Financial Transformation group. “The herd mentality gets people moving in a different direction,” he says. “And we’re not taking the right steps to get them back.”

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