Survey Finds Most Executives Confident They Will See Business Growth Next Quarter

MENLO PARK, CA, March 9, 2010 -- Seven percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index indicated they plan to add full-time accounting and finance employees during the second quarter, the highest forecast since the first quarter of 2009, while 8 percent expect staff reductions. While a net decrease is projected, this is the second consecutive quarter in which the number of executives anticipating increases has risen and the percentage projecting staff cuts has fallen. The majority of respondents, 85 percent, said they do not anticipate any changes to their personnel levels.


In addition, the survey found most CFOs are optimistic about the outlook for their businesses in the next three months. Eighty-four percent said they are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ second-quarter growth prospects; 34 percent are very confident.


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, 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.


“While most businesses remain cautious, some companies are beginning to hire selectively to ensure they have the employees in place to capitalize on opportunities that may arise as a result of an improving economy,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “In some cases, firms are using temporary professionals to help meet workload demands and as a way to evaluate individuals for potential full-time positions.”


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The Mountain1 states are projected to see the most active hiring in the second quarter, with a net 4 percent of CFOs in the region expecting to add full-time accounting and finance employees.


“Education and health services are among the sectors that have consistently added new jobs in the Mountain region,” Messmer noted. “Demand also is increasing for mid- to senior-level professionals in public accounting, as well as for accounts payable and receivable and cost accounting staff.”


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

CFOs in the business services sector are most optimistic about their hiring plans for the second quarter, with a net 2 percent of executives forecasting personnel increases. Six percent of respondents anticipate expanding their teams and 4 percent expect to reduce staff levels.


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

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 365 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 Region

Financial Hiring Index: By Industry

Financial Hiring Index: By Company Size

Financial Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: Five-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: CFOs' Confidence


1 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming


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