Robert Half Financial Hiring Index: Increase in Net Hiring Activity Projected for First Time Since First-Quarter 2009 Survey

MENLO PARK, CA, September 9, 2010 -- Hiring in accounting and finance is expected to increase slightly in the fourth quarter, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Eight percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they plan to hire full-time accounting and finance employees during the fourth quarter, while 7 percent expect staff reductions. The net 1 percent increase in hiring activity is the first net increase since the first quarter of 2009. Most CFOs, 84 percent, expect no changes to their personnel levels.


Business confidence is strong among the group, according to the survey. A significant majority (86 percent) of executives interviewed are at least somewhat optimistic about the outlook for their businesses, including 39 percent who 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 employers remain cautious about adding staff, more firms also are concerned they could miss out on business opportunities by not having adequate human resources in place,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “Rising customer demands are placing added pressure on companies that made deep personnel cuts in recent years. Some businesses not in a position to hire full time are addressing the gap by bringing in professionals on a temporary or project basis.”


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The West South Central1 states are projected to see the most active hiring in the fourth quarter, with a net 6 percent of CFOs in the region expecting to add full-time accounting and finance employees.


“Retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and gas services companies in the region are rebuilding their teams,” Messmer said. “Demand is particularly strong for operational and staff-level accounting roles.”


The Pacific2 states also are expected to see above-average hiring activity. A net 5 percent of CFOs in the region expect to add personnel.


Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

CFOs in both the manufacturing and wholesale sectors are optimistic about their hiring plans for the fourth quarter, with a net 4 percent of executives in each industry forecasting increases in personnel levels. Thirteen percent of manufacturing respondents anticipate expanding their teams and 9 percent expect staff reductions. In the wholesale sector, 9 percent of CFOs surveyed plan staff additions, while 5 percent said they will decrease headcount.


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 350 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 Industry

Financial Hiring Index: By Region

Financial Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: Five-Year History

Financial Hiring Index: CFOs' Confidence


1 Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

2 Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington


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