CFOs EXPECT SLIGHT INCREASE IN FOURTH-QUARTER HIRING ACTIVITY
Finance, Insurance And Real Estate Sector To See Third Straight Quarter Of Strong Gains
MENLO PARK, CA - - A slight increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals is anticipated during the fourth quarter of 2002, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Seven percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed plan to expand their accounting and finance departments, and 3 percent expect staff reductions. The net 4 percent increase is up one percentage point from the third-quarter forecast. The majority of respondents, 88 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 the accounting, finance and information technology fields.
"Financial hiring projections have fluctuated just one percentage point from quarter to quarter this year, which is evidence of a more cautious hiring environment in the United States," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "Businesses appear to be waiting for indications of a sustained economic recovery before adding new employees.
"Minimizing expenses and maintaining cash reserves remain a priority for most companies," Messmer added. "As a result, finance and accounting professionals adept at budget control and cash-flow management are in particularly strong demand."
Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
CFOs in New England are most optimistic about employment activity in the fourth quarter. Fourteen percent of financial executives expect to add personnel and 4 percent foresee staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of 10 percent.
"The health care, residential real estate and local banking sectors are leading growth in the region, creating an increased demand for financial professionals with experience in these industries," Messmer said.
The Middle Atlantic and East South Central regions of the United States also projected net hiring gains above the national average. CFOs in each region foresee a net 7 percent increase in hiring activity during the fourth quarter.
Businesses in the finance, insurance and real estate sector can expect the greatest net increase in hiring activity during the fourth quarter, according to executives surveyed. Fifteen percent of CFOs said they plan to hire accounting and finance professionals and just 1 percent intend to cut back on personnel, for a net 14 percent increase in financial hiring activity. This is the third consecutive quarter that projected hiring activity in this industry has outpaced the rest of the nation by at least five percentage points.
Hiring forecasts for the wholesale and business services industries also exceeded the national average, with CFOs in both sectors projecting a net 7 percent increase in hiring activity.
Robert Half was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RHI). 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 325 offices throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at www.roberthalf.com.
Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry