Job Hunting

Finance Job Picture Healthy, Steady

New England and several Southern states are regional hotspots; finance/insurance/real estate seems to be the industry where talent is most in demand.
Stephen TaubMarch 22, 2005

The job market for accounting and finance positions should hold steady at a pretty healthy level, according to a new survey by Robert Half International.

The staffing-services firm garnered responses from 1,400 chief financial officers at companies with 20 or more employees. In the second quarter, the survey found, 8 percent of CFOs plan to add staff, while 2 percent predict reductions. The net 6 percent increase is an improvement of 1 percentage point from Robert Half’s first-quarter survey and equal to the figure for this time last year.

“Companies appear to be more confident, pursuing new initiatives as well as ones that were previously postponed,” said chairman and chief executive officer Max Messmer, in a statement. “As economic conditions improve and more projects are launched, there is greater urgency to hire accounting and finance personnel to support expansion efforts.”

Of the CFOs who are planning to hire in the second quarter, 61 percent cited business growth as the reason; 17 percent singled out larger workloads. “Corporate governance initiatives continue to fuel demand for skilled accounting and internal audit staff as firms address ongoing Sarbanes-Oxley compliance,” observed Messmer.

In New England and in the “East South Central states” (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee), 14 percent of survey respondents said they would be adding staff this quarter, and none said they expect to reduce staff. In New England, growth within the manufacturing sector is driving demand, while businesses in the East South Central states reported the need for senior managers as well as staff-level candidates who can meet a variety of needs.

Companies in both regions are seeking financial analysts for projects such as budget forecasting and strategic planning, as well as staff with strong information technology skills to help with systems upgrades and data management, Robert Half added.

The finance/insurance/real-estate industry should show the greatest demand, according to survey respondents. Fully 20 percent said they expect to take on new full-time staffers this quarter, while none said they expect to reduce staff.

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