Strongest Gains Forecast in Pacific Region, Business Services Sector

MENLO PARK, CA — Financial executives expect to continue hiring in the first quarter of the new year but at a slightly slower pace than during the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the most recent Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index.  Six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said they plan to add full-time accounting and finance employees, while 3 percent expect staff reductions.  The net 3 percent increase is one point below the fourth-quarter projection.  The majority of respondents, 90 percent, expect no change in hiring activity.

The national poll includes responses from 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 largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting, finance and information technology.  Robert Half International has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

“Continued hiring, driven by business expansion, rising workloads and ongoing compliance initiatives, has created a tight labor market for skilled accounting and finance professionals,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.  “This is prompting increased competition for the best talent, especially for positions such as staff and senior accountant, internal auditor and financial analyst.”

Messmer added, “Businesses also are placing greater emphasis on retention and using more proactive recruiting strategies to attract professionals with the most in-demand skills.”

Fifty-five percent of CFOs who anticipate hiring accounting and finance staff in the first quarter cited business growth as the reason, up from 46 percent in the fourth-quarter survey.  Twenty-one percent of financial executives polled said rising workloads are driving the need for additional staff.

Accounting and Financial Hiring — By Region

The Pacific1 states are projected to experience the most active hiring.  A net 10 percent of CFOs in the region expect to add full-time accounting and finance professionals in the first quarter.  Thirteen percent of those polled plan to bring in staff, and 3 percent anticipate personnel reductions.

“Companies in the Pacific region are looking for mid-level accounting and finance professionals to assist them with growing workloads,” Messmer said.  “Demand is strong in areas such as payroll, budget forecasting and corporate governance.”

Hiring in the East South Central2 and New England3 states also is forecast to exceed the national average.  Respectively, a net 6 percent and net 5 percent of financial executives in these regions said they will be adding staff in the first quarter.

Robert Half International 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

Accounting and Financial Hiring — By Industry

Among industries, the most active hiring in the first quarter is projected to take place within business services.  Eleven percent of financial executives polled from this sector plan to add staff, while 3 percent foresee personnel reductions, a net 8 percent increase in hiring activity.

Financial hiring in the construction, retail and finance, insurance and real estate industries also will outpace the national average.  A net 4 percent of CFOs in each of these sectors predict an increase in hiring.

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

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