Small Increase in Accounting Hires Predicted For 4th Quarter

At a time when any sign of economic recovery is welcome, the slight increase in expected fourth quarter hiring of
accounting and finance officials made news this week.

Robert Half International Inc. commissioned the survey of 1,400 chief financial officers in companies with 20 or more employees. The survey found that, nationwide, 8 percent expect to add staff in the final three months of the year and 7 percent plan to make cuts. This net 1 percent gain is better than the equal split Robert Half predicted for the third quarter.

Results of the survey were broken down regionally, and the most optimistic hiring scenarios seem to be unfolding in the South Atlantic states (DC, DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV).

However, net decreases in hiring are expected in the Middle Atlantic states (NY, NJ, PA), the East North Central states (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI), West North Central states (ND, NE, SD) and the Pacific states (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA).

Eighty-one percent of the CFOs surveyed said they expect to make no hiring changes and 4 percent had not yet decided.

When viewed across multiple industries, CFOs in finance, insurance and real estate are most optimistic about financial hiring in the coming quarter. Thirty percent of financial executives in this industry segment expect to hire personnel, and just 2 percent anticipate staff reductions.

Robert Half International has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992. “The overall hiring environment remains conservative as executives wait for evidence of a sustained economic recovery,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Businesses are adding staff gradually, as productivity demands increase.”

Another reason for slight optimism found in the survey results is that among CFOs planning to hire accounting and finance staff before the end of the year, 30 percent said the hires were necessary to handle an increase in business.

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