Quarterly Study Finds Business Growth Primary Factor Driving Hiring

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) expect hiring activity in accounting and finance to continue growing in the second quarter, although at a more moderate pace, according to the Robert Half International Financial Hiring IndexNine percent of CFOs interviewed said they plan to add full-time professionals and 5 percent anticipate staff reductions. The net 4 percent increase is down two points from the first-quarter forecast. The majority of respondents, 85 percent, anticipate no change in personnel levels.

Of those executives expecting to hire, approximately two in five (41 percent) attributed the demand to business growth, up 11 points from the first-quarter Financial Hiring Index. Rising workloads was cited as the primary reason by 34 percent of respondents.

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 1992.

“Businesses seek financial professionals for general accounting, internal controls and compliance initiatives, among others,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Sustained hiring in accounting and finance over the past several years has resulted in an increasingly shallow talent pool, and many employers continue to struggle to find professionals with the requisite skills.”

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

CFOs in the South Atlantic1 states are most optimistic about hiring in the second quarter. Fourteen percent of financial executives expect to add accounting and finance employees and 1 percent anticipate reducing personnel levels, a net 13 percent increase in hiring activity.

“The employment market for accountants in the South Atlantic region is competitive, and, as a result, firms are finding they must move quickly to hire promising job candidates,” Messmer said. “Organizations are looking for professionals who possess the functional abilities to do their jobs as well as strong interpersonal skills.”

Hiring also is forecast to outpace the national average in the New England2 and West South Central3 regions, where a net 7 percent and a net 5 percent of CFOs, respectively, said they expect to add accounting staff.

Robert Half has conducted additional CFO interviews in more than 40 major metropolitan areas to provide snapshots of financial hiring trends in these markets. The local results are available at

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

The business services sector is expected to see the most active hiring during the second quarter. Fourteen percent of CFOs anticipate hiring financial professionals, compared to 4 percent who foresee cutbacks, a net 10 percent increase in hiring activity.

Above-average financial hiring also is expected among construction companies. A net 7 percent of executives said they plan to add personnel in the second quarter of 2008.

About the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index
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.

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 360 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at



[1] Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia,

West Virginia

[2] Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

[3] Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas


Financial Hiring Index

Financial Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: Factors Driving Demand

Financial Hiring Index: By Region

Financial Hiring Index: By Industry

Financial Hiring Index: Five-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: Local Market Projections


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