Survey Finds Accountants Work Average of Five Jobs Over Course of Career

MENLO PARK, CA -- How many job changes are the norm when building a career in accounting and finance? In a recent survey, chief financial officers (CFOs) said the average accountant will hold approximately five jobs in his or her professional life.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world’s first and largest staffing service specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology fields. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes the responses of 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, “In your opinion, how many jobs will the average accounting or finance professional hold in his or her career?” The mean response was five.

“Accepting positions of increasing responsibility throughout one’s career is key to professional development and long-term advancement, whether with your current employer or a new firm,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies (Hungry Minds, Inc.). “Hiring managers look for a pattern of growth when evaluating a candidate’s work history.”

“Still, it’s wise to avoid too many job changes,” he added, “or employers may question your loyalty.” In a previous survey commissioned by Robert Half International, CFOs said that having as many as four jobs in 10 years could negatively impact one’s career prospects.

Messmer advises professionals to consider the following before making their next career move:
• Your goals. Where would you like to be professionally in five or 10 years, and what skills will you need to get there? The answers to these questions will provide a baseline for evaluating current and future opportunities.
• Your strengths. What do you do best? If you are consistently praised for your project management or leadership abilities, for example, seek out a position that allows you to maximize and further develop these skills.
• Your motivation. Identify three projects in your career that left you feeling a strong sense of accomplishment. Look for jobs with the potential to provide these rewards.
• Your current position. Are you challenged in your present role? What steps can you take to increase your level of responsibility and advancement prospects?

Robert Half has 330 locations throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at

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