A net 2 percentof chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index said they plan to hire full-time accounting and finance professionals in the first quarter of 2011.
While modest, the number represents an increase from the fourth-quarter projection and is the strongest showing in more than two years.
Eighty-eight percentof CFOs expressed confidencein their firms’ growth potentialin the first quarter, and businesses also report greater hiring difficulty. Half of executives interviewed said it is challenging to locate highly skilled finance professionals, four points higher than the previous quarter and up from 34 percentin the second-quarter survey.
“As business needs rise, companies are more open to hiring on both a full-time and temporary basis,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Some firms that made deep personnel cuts are now finding their teams are too lean to maintain quality service and meet increased customer demands.”
The West South Central region is expected to see the most hiring activity in the first quarter. A net 14 percentof CFOs plan to add full-time accounting and finance professionals.
“Companies in the West South Central region, especially those in the manufacturing and energy sectors, want to have their teams in place to start the new year strong and are making selective hires,” Messmer said. “Other businesses are resuming projects that had been placed on hold, which may require adding personnel.”
Above-average hiring activity also is predicted in the Pacific region. Seven percentof CFOs there expect to add staff and 3 percentanticipate declines, a net 4 percentincrease in hiring activity.
Across the United States, financial executives in the wholesale industry are most likely to hire additional staff in the upcoming quarter. Ten percentof wholesale industry respondents plan to expand their teams and none expect staff reductions.
The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the U.S. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International, a staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance.