Increased financial hiring expected in fourth quarter

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Financial executives polled for the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index expect hiring in accounting and finance to accelerate during the fourth quarter of 2007. Nine percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed said they plan to add full-time employees and 3 percent expect staff reductions. The net 6 percent increase is up three points from the third-quarter projection.

The national report is based on interviews with 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, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

"Company expansion and recurring compliance mandates that create more demands for financial teams continue to contribute to a tight hiring market for skilled accounting and finance professionals," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "The most experienced candidates are receiving multiple employment offers, and more organizations are extending counteroffers to retain top performers."

Forty-one percent of CFOs who anticipate hiring in the fourth quarter cited rising workloads as the primary driver of demand, while 37 percent said business growth was the leading factor.

Accounting and financial hiring -- by region

The South Atlantic states are projected to experience the most active hiring. A net 11 percent of CFOs in the region anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals. Twelve percent of those polled plan to bring in personnel and 1 percent foresee cutbacks.

"Businesses in the South Atlantic region seek highly skilled accounting and finance professionals to handle responsibilities ranging from budget forecasting and corporate governance activities to financial statement preparation and strategic planning," said Messmer. "In particular demand are staff and cost accountants, senior-level financial analysts, and internal auditors."

Hiring activity in the Pacific and West South Central states also is forecast to exceed the national average. A net 8 percent of CFOs in each region expect to add staff 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. You can see the local results.

Accounting and financial hiring -- by industry

Among industries, executives in the construction and finance, insurance and real estate sectors are most optimistic about hiring. Sixteen percent of CFOs from construction firms plan to bring in staff in the fourth quarter and none expect a reduction in personnel levels. In the finance, insurance and real estate industry, a net 11 percent of executives anticipate adding financial professionals during the quarter.

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