SIGNS OF OPTIMISM IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL HIRING, SURVEY SHOWS

Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor Finds Most Finance Executives Confident in Business Growth

MENLO PARK, CA, Aug. 12, 2010 --  Financial executives are more optimistic today than they were this time last year, according to the annual Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor. The vast majority (83 percent) of financial leaders surveyed worldwide are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects, including 30 percent who are very confident. Respondents also reported challenges locating skilled professionals for certain jobs.

But while a healthier business environment and rising recruiting difficulties suggest the job market in accounting and finance may be improving, employers today seem less concerned about keeping top performers than they were one year ago. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they are at least somewhat worried about their ability to retain staff in the coming year, down from 53 percent in 2009.

The fourth annual Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor was developed by Robert Half and is based on surveys conducted by independent research firms. The study, focusing on hiring difficulties, retention concerns and other staffing-related issues, includes responses from more than 6,300 financial leaders across 19 countries.

Key Findings

  • Financial leaders are optimistic about the outlook at their firms. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they have confidence in their organization's growth prospects.
  • Employers reported difficulty finding skilled candidates for specific functional areas. Respondents cited particular challenges filling finance, accounting and operational support positions.
  • The most active hiring is expected to take place at the entry and staff levels.
  • Retention concerns have subsided. Forty-five percent of respondents said they are worried about their ability to keep top performers, down from 53 percent in 2009.
     

"While an air of caution remains, there are signs pointing to an improved hiring outlook," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "Business confidence and, in some cases, demand are rising, and firms will need highly skilled accounting and finance teams to sustain their momentum and support growth initiatives."

Executives Bullish on Their Businesses
Globally, 83 percent of financial leaders said they are either very or somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects for the next year. Nearly all managers in Brazil (98 percent) are at least somewhat optimistic. Other countries where executives are particularly confident include Italy (93 percent), Switzerland (93 percent), Canada (91 percent), Austria (88 percent) and the United States (88 percent).

Talent Shortages Persist
Despite high unemployment rates in different parts of the world, recruiting can be challenging for employers. Financial leaders cited the most difficulty hiring for finance, accounting and operational support positions.

In Brazil, 24 percent of respondents said they are having trouble locating skilled accountants, 23 percent noted challenges hiring auditors, and 22 percent said finance professionals are difficult to find. An additional 13 percent reported operational support roles as the hardest to fill.

Hiring Plans to Focus on Entry and Intermediate Levels
Global Financial Employment Monitor respondents said they anticipate making the most hires at the entry and staff levels, as cited by 26 percent and 25 percent of those surveyed, respectively. "As the global economy improves, companies need personnel who can facilitate growth simply by performing fundamental accounting and finance responsibilities," said Messmer. "Firms seek financial professionals with the expertise to make an immediate contribution and a commitment to advance their careers with the organization over the long term."

Many employers anticipate hiring more experienced professionals as well. The majority of those surveyed in Hong Kong (58 percent) and 50 percent in Singapore indicated plans to add senior or management personnel. Globally, 22 percent of respondents expect to hire for these positions.

Retention Concerns Ease
Although the job market has begun improving in many countries, financial leaders worldwide are less worried about retention. Fewer than half (45 percent) of respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about losing their most valued employees to other opportunities in the next year, compared to 53 percent in 2009.

Heightened retention concerns were reported in Brazil (76 percent), Singapore (75 percent) and Hong Kong (72 percent). Even in countries where the job market remains uncertain, worries about retaining staff exist. In the United States, for example, nearly three in 10 (28 percent) are at least somewhat worried about their ability to keep top performers.

"Employers who delay their retention efforts may risk losing valuable employees," said Messmer. "When the competition for financial talent intensifies, these professionals will be even more difficult to replace."

About the Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor
The study, based on the results of a survey developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms, includes responses from more than 6,300 financial executives and managers across 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The number of respondents varies by country and provides a representative sample of businesses in each. The results are within 95 percent certainty, and the overall margin of error is approximately +/- 1.3 percent.

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 www.roberthalf.com.


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