By Anne Rosivach
Chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed for the quarterly Robert Half Professional Employment Report forecast an increase in hiring during the fourth quarter of 2011. Twelve percent of the 1,400 CFOs surveyed said they anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance employees, while 7 percent expect staff reductions. The net 5 percent of CFOs who reported that they were planning to hire is up four points from the third-quarter study and the highest projection in three years.
Positions in top demand included financial analysts, business systems analysts, and staff and senior accountants.
CFOs also reported having a harder time finding qualified candidates. Fifty-nine percent said that recruiting skilled accounting and finance employees was "somewhat or very challenging," a big increase over the 41 percent who reported difficulty finding skilled applicants in the third quarter.
Professional services are expected to increase their hiring by 9 percent, manufacturing by 8 percent, and business services by 6 percent. Hiring should be robust in the West South Central region, where an increase of 15 percent is expected. Hiring in the South Atlantic should increase by 8 percent. and 6 percent increase is expected in the East North Central and the East South Central.
"Though companies are still generally conservative in their hiring outlooks, many are expanding their accounting and finance departments and need professionals with the right skills to help them accommodate new growth opportunities," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Businesses also are adding staff in response to voluntary turnover as more employees are attracted by offers from other companies."
The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 C-level executives and other leaders from a variety of fields throughout the U.S. Survey respondents included more than 1,400 CFOs at companies with 20 or more employees. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.