Increasing workloads drive accountant hires

Six percent of chief financial officers surveyed anticipate adding employees and 3 percent forecast personnel cutbacks, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Ninety percent of those polled foresee no change in staff levels.

The national poll included responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

“Companies have become more strategic in their hiring efforts and are looking for individuals who combine strong technical expertise with outstanding communication skills,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Once solid candidates are identified, employers are moving quickly to bring them on board.”

Messmer added, “The demand for skilled accounting and finance professionals remains strong, and firms must find ways to differentiate themselves -- from providing higher compensation and better benefits to enhancing the work environment -- to attract top performers.”

The Mountain(1) and West South Central(2) state regions forecast the greatest gains in hiring. Ten percent of financial executives said they plan to add staff and 1 percent expect reductions in personnel, a net 9 percent increase in each region

“The tight labor market in the Mountain states is causing many organizations to offer higher salaries and additional perks to secure financial talent,” said Messmer. "In the West South Central, hiring is being led by the manufacturing and oil and gas industries. In particular, businesses need staff accountants who can assist with growth initiatives.”

CFOs in the East South Central(3) region also anticipate above-average hiring activity. A net 6 percent of financial executives plan to bring in full-time accounting and finance employees during the quarter.

Robert Half has conducted additional CFO interviews in major metropolitan areas to provide more detailed analyses of financial hiring trends in these markets. The local results are available at

Among industries, CFOs in construction are the most optimistic about hiring in the third quarter. Nine percent anticipate increasing staff levels and 1 percent foresee personnel reductions, a net 8 percent increase. Hiring activity in manufacturing also is expected to outpace the national forecast, with a net 7 percent of financial executives anticipating bringing in new employees in the quarter. A net 6 percent of CFOs polled in both the retail and wholesale sectors indicated they plan to add accounting and finance professionals to their teams.

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