Demand Strongest For Accountants In Finance, Insurance And Real Estate Sector

MENLO PARK, CA -- Executives interviewed recently for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index were increasingly uncertain about their third-quarter hiring intentions.  Five percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed plan to add staff in the third quarter and 5 percent anticipate reductions in personnel.  Another 5 percent were undecided, up from 2 percent just three months ago.  The majority of respondents, 85 percent, anticipate no change in hiring.


The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half, the world’s largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting, finance and information technology.  Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

“It is difficult to say what impact the military action in Iraq may have had on hiring confidence,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half.  “The most notable trend in the survey is the decrease in the number of executives who will be hiring and the nearly proportionate increase in the number of those who responded with uncertainty.”


Among CFOs who said they are planning to hire additional accounting and finance professionals in the coming quarter, more than half (52 percent) cited business expansion as the primary factor driving growth.  “In anticipation of economic recovery, many firms are taking steps to ensure they have the ability to rebound strongly,” Messmer said.


Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

CFOs in the East South Central[1] and Mountain[2] regions of the United States anticipate the greatest rise in financial hiring activity during the third quarter -- a net 5 percent increase is forecast for both areas.  Eight percent of CFOs in these states plan to add staff, while

3 percent anticipate personnel reductions.


“The East South Central region is benefiting from continued strength in the health care industry, which is driving demand for medical billing and collections specialists,” Messmer said.  “Manufacturing also has seen some growth as auto makers move forward with new plant and expansion projects, generating need for financial professionals with cost accounting expertise.


“Growth in the Mountain region is driven by a high volume of transactions in home building, home sales, mortgage refinancing, and property management,” Messmer said.  “Businesses in these states are reporting demand for bookkeepers, property accountants, mortgage lenders and loan processors.”




Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

CFOs in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are most optimistic about financial hiring in the coming quarter.  Fifteen percent of financial executives expect to hire personnel while 4 percent anticipate staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of

11 percent.  This forecast is up 3 points from the previous quarter’s projections for the industry.


“Low interest rates continue to fuel refinancing and residential real estate activity,“ noted Messmer.  “As a result, qualified financial professionals at all levels with real estate, property management or construction industry experience are in high demand.”


CFOs in the manufacturing and transportation sectors anticipate above-average activity in third-quarter financial hiring.  Financial executives with transportation companies expect a net 6 percent increase in financial hiring activity, while CFOs in the manufacturing sector are projecting a net 5 percent increase in financial hiring activity.


Robert Half (NYSE: RHI), 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 320 offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at


[1] Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee

[2] Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming

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