Survey Results Changed Little From Second-Quarter Forecast

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) expect a net 7 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter of 2001, a decline of one point from the prior quarter. Eleven percent of financial executives plan to hire additional personnel during the next three months and 4 percent expect staff reductions, according to Robert Half's quarterly Financial Hiring Index. Eighty-two percent of CFOs anticipate no change in staff levels.

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.

"Accounting and finance departments can be somewhat insulated from wide swings in staff levels, as accounting professionals are needed whether the company is experiencing rapid growth or pursuing cost-cutting measures," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "However, many firms are hiring more judiciously given the current economic climate, often taking longer to make staffing decisions in order to confirm a genuine need."

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
CFOs in the South Atlantic1 states are most optimistic about hiring during the third quarter. Sixteen percent of financial executives expect to add staff and 4 percent anticipate cutbacks, for a net hiring increase of 12 percent. "Employment growth in the region -- particularly in Florida -- can be linked in part to the continued influx of new businesses," Messmer said. "Companies here report strong demand for staff accountants, particularly those with solid technology skills."

Solid employment growth is also forecast in the New England2 states. Sixteen percent of CFOs plan to expand their accounting and finance departments, while 5 percent foresee reductions in personnel, for a net 11 percent hiring increase. Messmer points out that continued expansion in such industries as biotechnology and business services may be impacting employment growth in the region.

Executives in the Mountain3 and Pacific4 states also project financial hiring activity above the national average, with respective net hiring increases of 10 percent and 8 percent.

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry
CFOs in the wholesale sector expect the most active hiring during the third quarter, according to the survey. Fifteen percent of financial executives in this industry intend to add accounting and finance staff while just 1 percent predict cutbacks, for a net 14 percent hiring increase.

Financial hiring should also exceed the national average in the retail and business services (advertising, personnel, data processing, repair, motion picture, and amusement and recreation services) industries. CFOs in both industry sectors project a net 8 percent increase in hiring activity over the next three months.

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® and RHI Management Resources®, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 300 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at


Financial Hiring Index: By Region

Financial Hiring Index: By Industry

Financial Hiring Index: Comparative Data


1 Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
2 Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
3 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming
4 Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

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