New Survey Suggests Majority of CFOs Will Maintain Current Staff Levels

MENLO PARK, CA — Executives interviewed recently for the Robert Half
International Financial Hiring Index
said that, for the most part, staff
levels in their accounting and finance departments will remain unchanged in the
third quarter. Eighty-four percent of chief financial officers
(CFOs) interviewed said they would neither increase nor decrease the size of
their teams. Those who do anticipate making changes in the coming quarter were
evenly split, with 6 percent saying they would add personnel
and 6 percent expecting staff reductions.

Research shows employers continue to have difficulty locating skilled
employees. Accounting positions are the most challenging to hire for, according
to 32 percent of CFOs, while audit and finance roles were each
cited by 18 percent of respondents as the hardest to fill.

The Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more
than 1,400 CFOs across the United States. 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

“While the job market has become more competitive in a number of fields,
demand for skilled accounting and finance professionals is holding steady,” said
Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “In fact, for many
key positions, it remains a challenge to find experienced candidates.”

Messmer added, “The accounting and finance functions are integral in any
economy. Firms focused on the need to effectively manage company resources place
a premium on job applicants with success identifying cost efficiencies and
controlling expenses.”

Thirty-six percent of CFOs who expect to expand their staff
size in the first quarter said business growth is creating the need for
additional personnel; 31 percent of executives attributed the
need to hire to rising workloads.

Accounting and Financial Hiring — By Region

The Middle Atlantic[1]
and West South Central[2] states should see the most active financial
hiring this summer. A net 4 percent of CFOs in each region
anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals during the
third quarter.

“In the Middle Atlantic states, businesses need highly skilled practitioners
to handle responsibilities ranging from budget forecasting to strategic
planning,” said Messmer. “Controllers, accounting managers and tax specialists
are in particularly strong demand.

“Much of the hiring activity in the West South Central region is being
created by the energy sector, which also is spurring growth in other
industries,” added Messmer. “Companies are looking to hire mid- to senior-level
professionals to assist with growth initiatives but in many cases are finding a
shortage of highly skilled job candidates.”

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

Accounting and Financial Hiring — By Industry

The financial hiring outlook is most optimistic among business services
firms. Nine percent of CFOs in the sector plan to increase
personnel levels, and 3 percent foresee reductions, a
6 percent increase in hiring.

Hiring activity also is expected to outpace the national average in the
finance, insurance and real estate and wholesale industries. A net 5
of CFOs interviewed in each sector anticipate adding

About the Robert Half International Financial Hiring
First published in 1992, the Robert Half International
Financial Hiring Index
was conducted by an independent research firm and is
based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of
U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically
representative and ensure that businesses from all segments were represented,
the sample was stratified by geographic region and employee size. The results
were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of employee size within
each region.

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