CFOs Reveal Second-Quarter Hiring Plans

Robert Half Financial Hiring Index: Executive Confidence Remains High

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 7, 2012 -- Staff levels in accounting and finance could hold fairly steady in the second quarter of 2012, executives interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index reported. Ninety-one percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they expect to maintain their current personnel levels in the upcoming quarter, up from 69 percent at the start of the year. Four percent plan to add employees and 5 percent forecast staff decreases.

The study also found executives remain optimistic about their businesses. Ninety-one percent said they are confident in their companies' growth prospects for the second quarter, up four points from the first-quarter survey.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index, part of the company's quarterly Professional Employment Report, 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 economic signs continue to improve incrementally in the United States, companies are hiring skilled accounting and finance professionals at a steady rate to meet demand," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Staff reductions are trending downward as businesses seek to avoid weakening their bench strength at a time when growth opportunities are emerging."

View the research highlights.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The East South Central[1] and Mountain[2] states are projected to see the most active hiring in the second quarter. A net 5 percent of executives interviewed in each of these regions said they are planning to hire full-time accounting and finance employees.

"The relatively low business and living costs in many areas within the East South Central region are attracting employers and job candidates alike," Messmer noted. "Companies in the Mountain states are hiring senior accountants and controllers, with most of the activity taking place at midsize firms. In both regions, manufacturing employment is making a comeback following deep cuts during the last recession."

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

Executives with wholesale firms expect to do the most hiring in the second quarter, according to the survey. A net 10 percent of CFOs in the industry said they anticipate adding staff.

About the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

First published in 1992, the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is conducted by an independent research firm and 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

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