Slightly higher salaries projected as key roles prove challenging to fill

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With some signs pointing to a slight uptick in financial hiring, compensation for accounting and finance professionals should see commensurate gains.

Starting salaries in these fields are expected to rise an average of 3.1 percent in the coming year, according to the recently released 2011 Salary Guide from Robert Half. Business analysts, tax accountants, and financial analysts are among the professionals projected to see notable increases.

"Companies seek experienced professionals who can improve efficiencies, facilitate business growth, and manage rising business volume, yet many employers continue to report challenges finding the precise talent they need", Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, said of the study's findings. "In response, some firms are improving their compensation packages to attract the best candidates for high-demand roles."

Robert Half International, a Menlo, CA-based staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance, has been publishing its annualsalary guide since 1950. The data in the 2011 Salary Guide are national average starting salaries and based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company's U.S. offices.

The 2011 Salary Guide is accompanied by the Robert Half Salary Center, featuring additional analysis on hiring and compensation trends and the Robert Half Salary Calculator, which allows users to quickly determine the starting salary range for their specific position and location.

While salaries for most specialties are expected to rise 1 to 3 percent next year, following are some of the positions anticipated to see higher increases:

  • Senior business analysts are expected to see the largest boost in base pay in 2011, with their average starting salary rising 5 percent to the range of $66,500 to $85,500.
  • Projected base pay for tax accounting managers at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is $69,500 to $92,500, up 4.9 percent.
  • Starting salaries for financial analysis managers at both large (more than $250 million in sales) and midsize companies are predicted to climb 4.8 percent; senior financial analysts at midsize companies are predicted to see their base compensation rise to $60,000 to $78,000, a 4.7 percent increase.
  • Senior compliance analysts at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) are anticipated to receive starting salary offers between $58,750 and $75,250, a 4.1 percent increase.
  • Average starting salaries for tax services senior managers and directors, as well as senior tax accountants at midsize public accounting firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales), are expected to climb 3.9 percent in the year ahead.
  • Base pay for senior auditors at midsize public accounting firms is expected to range between $62,000 and $81,750, up 3.8 percent over 2010 levels.
  • Within financial services, compliance managers can anticipate a 4.4 percent gain in base pay, to a range of $64,500 to $89,000.

"In addition to strong functional expertise, companies seek finance staff who possess outstanding soft skills and proficiency with relevant software packages", said Messmer. "Professionals also can enhance their marketability – and earning power – by obtaining an industry-recognized accreditation, such as the certified public accountant designation."

About the salary guide from Robert Half:

All salaries listed in the 2011 Salary Guide are national averages. Because compensation varies significantly by geographic market, the guide includes information to customize the data for more than 130 U.S. cities. For decades, companies have consulted the salary guide to determine appropriate compensation for accounting and finance professionals at all levels. In addition, educational institutions and research entities such as the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics have referenced the guide for the most comprehensive information on compensation and hiring.

About Robert Half International:

Robert Half International was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time, and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 350 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional Web sites, all of which can be accessed at

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