Robert Half Financial Hiring Index: Nine in 10 Executives Confident About Business Growth

MENLO PARK, CA, June 7, 2011 -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) are optimistic about their businesses for the coming quarter, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Nine in 10 (90 percent) executives interviewed reported confidence in their companies' third-quarter growth prospects, with 43 percent saying they are very confident.

The report also found hiring in accounting and finance is expected to increase slightly in the quarter. Seven percent of CFOs indicated they plan to add full-time employees, while 6 percent expect staff reductions. The resulting net 1 percent increase is up one point from the second-quarter forecast.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States who are asked whether their companies plan to increase or decrease the number of full-time accounting or financial personnel on their staff during the coming quarter. The survey is conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half, 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.

"To keep up with increased business stemming from an improving economy, companies are adding accounting and finance staff on both a full-time and temporary basis," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "While gains in full-time hiring are modest, employers face competition for skilled finance professionals. For some in-demand positions, such as financial analysts and senior accountants, a shortage of skilled candidates has developed."

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region
The South Atlantic(1) and West South Central(2) regions are projected to see the most active hiring in the third quarter, with a net 6 percent of CFOs in each location expecting to add full-time personnel. In the South Atlantic states, 10 percent of executives plan to hire and 4 percent project the size of their staff to decline. In the West South Central United States, 9 percent of CFOs anticipate adding employees and 3 percent foresee personnel reductions.

"Companies in the South Atlantic region that had heavily downsized their accounting and finance functions are now looking for staff accountants, senior accountants and financial analysts," Messmer noted. "In the West South Central states, CFOs in the energy and manufacturing sectors, in particular, have a need for controllers, assistant controllers and financial analysts."

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry
Nationally, CFOs in the wholesale sector are most optimistic about their hiring plans for the third quarter, with a net 9 percent of financial executives anticipating personnel increases. Eleven percent plan to expand their teams and 2 percent expect to reduce staff levels.

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.

Information from the study is featured in The Robert Half Professional Employment Report, launched last year and the first study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 4,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout the United States, it provides insight on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring within the finance profession has changed since last quarter and how it compares to other sectors, please visit

About Robert Half
Robert Half 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

(1) Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
(2) Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

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