CFOs Expect More Hiring During Third Quarter

Chief financial officers (CFOs) anticipate increased hiring activity in accounting and finance in the third quarter, according to the most recent Robert Half International Hiring Index. Seven percent of executives polled plan to bring in full-time employees, while only 3 percent plan staff reductions, resulting in a net increase of 4 percent, up 3 points over the second-quarter forecast.


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“Companies are expanding and moving forward with new projects,” Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, said in a prepared statement announcing the survey results. “As a result, firms are seeking accounting personnel – in particular, staff and senior accountants – to support growth initiatives.”

Among CFOs expecting to hire, 43 percent cite business growth as the primary factor driving demand and 24 percent report increasing workloads are creating demand for more staff.

“The rising demand has led to competition for top talent, and, in many cases, employers are expediting their hiring processes to avoid losing strong candidates to other career opportunities,” Messmer concluded.

Regional Hiring

Accounting and financial hiring is projected to be strongest in the Pacific and West South Central states. A net 7 percent of CFOs in each of these regions expect to add accounting and finance staff in the third quarter.

“As hiring picks up in the Pacific states, there is a premium on experienced accounting and finance personnel,” said Messmer. “For many financial executives, corporate governance compliance is driving the need for additional employees. Demand is especially high for individuals who possess U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission-reporting experience.

“Led by the energy and manufacturing sectors, hiring in the West South Central region has accelerated,” Messmer adds. “The labor market has tightened in many cities, and experienced professionals often receive multiple employment offers.”

Hiring by Industry

Executives in the construction industry are most optimistic about their hiring plans, with 19 percent of CFOs in this sector anticipating hiring full-time accounting and finance employees in the third quarter and none expects to reduce personnel levels.

Hiring activity in finance, insurance and real estate is expected to outpace the national projection as well. A net 8 percent of those surveyed in this sector indicated they plan to expand their teams. The retail industry is also forecast to see above average gains. A net 7 percent of executives anticipate bringing in additional staff during the quarter.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is a national poll that includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. Companies with 20 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International Inc., the world’s largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting, finance, and information technology. Robert Half International has been tracking financial hiring activity in the U.S. since 1992.

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