Middle Atlantic And Pacific Regions Most Optimistic About Staffing Plans

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) foresee a net 14 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter of 2000, a gain of five percentage points from the second quarter forecast, according to the just-released Robert Half Financial Hiring Index.  Sixteen percent of CFOs surveyed said their firms plan to expand their accounting and finance departments in the next three months and only 2 percent anticipate personnel reductions.  Eighty-one percent of executives expect no change in staffing activity.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of 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. 
“The significant increase in hiring expectations for the third quarter reflects continued business expansion nationwide,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half.  “Both start-ups and more established companies require accounting professionals to analyze their current financial performance and help position their firms for long-term competitiveness.”

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
CFOs in the Middle Atlantic  states anticipate the strongest employment gains in the third quarter.  Twenty-two percent of executives expect to add accounting and finance personnel and 2 percent foresee cutbacks, for a net hiring increase of 20 percent.  “The region’s manufacturing and finance, insurance and real estate sectors are expanding,” Messmer said.  “Firms in these industries are in particular need of employees skilled at managing financial transactions, including accounts receivable and payable professionals and staff accountants.”

Financial executives in the Pacific  states are also optimistic about hiring activity in the next three months.  Twenty-two percent of executives plan to expand their accounting and finance departments and 3 percent forecast reductions, for a net 19 percent increase in hiring.  “Business growth is strong throughout the region, creating a need for financial talent at all levels, from payroll clerks and collections staff to cost accountants and accounting managers,” Messmer said.

The West South Central  region will also see staffing growth above the national average, according to the survey.  Seventeen percent of CFOs anticipate adding accounting and finance staff and none foresee a decline.
Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry
The business services (includes advertising, personnel, repair and recreation services) and finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors forecast the strongest employment growth in the third quarter.  Twenty-six percent of CFOs at business services firms plan to add accounting and finance personnel and none foresee cutbacks.  In the FIRE industry, 27 percent of executives project staff expansion and 2 percent expect a reduction, for a net hiring increase of 25 percent.

Staffing activity is also forecast to exceed the national average in the manufacturing sector, where CFOs anticipate a net 17 percent increase in hiring, and in the construction industry, where executives foresee a net hiring increase of 15 percent.

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 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at

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(Charts on the following pages provide detailed breakdowns of hiring levels.)



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