Robert Half Financial Hiring Index: Business Confidence Remains High, Recruiting Challenges Rise

MENLO PARK, CA, December 6, 2010 -- A net 2 percent of 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 percent of CFOs expressed confidence in their firms’ growth potential in the first quarter, and businesses also report greater hiring difficulty. Half (50 percent) of executives interviewed said it is challenging to locate highly skilled finance professionals, four points higher than the previous quarter and up from 34 percent in the second-quarter survey.


The Robert Half 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 1992.


“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.”


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The West South Central states are expected to see the most hiring activity in the first quarter. A net 14 percent of 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 noted. “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 percent of CFOs there expect to add staff and 3 percent anticipate declines, a net 4 percent increase in hiring activity.


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry   

Across the United States, financial executives in the wholesale industry are most likely to hire additional staff in the upcoming quarter. Ten percent of wholesale industry respondents plan to expand their teams and none expect staff reductions.


About the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

First published in 1992, the Robert Half 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 company size (by number of employees). The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of company size within each region.


The Financial Hiring Index is conducted as part of the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which tracks hiring trends among professional occupations. More information about the Professional Employment Report is available at


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 websites, all of which can be accessed at


Financial Hiring Index   

Financial Hiring Index: By Industry  

Financial Hiring Index: By Region

Financial Hiring Index: Two-Year History  

Financial Hiring Index: Five-Year History   

Financial Hiring Index: CFOs' Confidence

Financial Hiring Index: Recruiting Challenges

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