Financial Sector Expected To Experience Greatest Growth

MENLO PARK, CA -- The hiring of full-time accounting and finance professionals is expected to increase slightly in the fourth quarter, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Seven percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled expect to add staff and
3 percent anticipate personnel reductions; 89 percent of executives forecast no changes. The net 4 percent increase is up one point from the third-quarter projection.


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.


“A growing number of businesses are adding accounting and finance personnel to support expansion plans,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “This has led to demand for staff and senior accountants, as well as financial analysts who can help with budgeting and forecasting.”


Messmer added, “Corporate governance mandates also continue to fuel financial hiring activity, both on a full-time and consulting basis. Many organizations underestimated the resources required for compliance initiatives and now seek experienced accounting professionals to help them assess and strengthen their internal controls and assist with remediation efforts.”


Among executives who plan to hire in the fourth quarter, 55 percent said business growth is the primary reason. Fourteen percent of respondents cited rising workloads.


Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
The West North Central region[1] is expected to see the greatest hiring activity in the fourth quarter. Nine percent of CFOs from these states plan to add to their accounting teams and
2 percent expect cutbacks, a net 7 percent increase.


“The improving manufacturing outlook has created a need for cost accountants and controllers among firms in the West North Central states,” noted Messmer. “Companies in a variety of industries across the region seek internal audit professionals and senior and staff accountants for corporate governance projects.”


The Middle Atlantic region[2] forecasts above-average hiring activity as well. A net 6 percent of executives in this area anticipate bringing in full-time accountants before the end of the year.


Robert Half has conducted additional CFO interviews in major metropolitan markets to provide more detailed analyses of financial hiring trends in these cities. The local results are available at


Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry
Hiring in the finance, insurance and real estate industry is expected to outpace all other sectors. Nineteen percent of CFOs plan to augment their teams while none expect personnel reductions.


The transportation and construction sectors forecast strong hiring activity as well. A net 6 percent of transportation CFOs and a net 5 percent of construction executives expect to add financial staff in the fourth quarter.


Robert Half was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Robert Half® Finance & Accounting, Accountemps® and Robert Half® Management Resources, for full-time, temporary and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 330 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


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Financial Hiring: By Region


Percentage ...             Increase            Decrease        No Change           Undecided         Total

United States                   7 3                                        89 1                                      100

New England                    6 4                                        90 0                                      100

Middle Atlantic                7 1                                        92 0                                      100

South Atlantic                10 6                                        82 2                                      100

East N. Central                5 1                                        93 1                                      100

West N. Central              9 2                                        89 0                                      100

East S. Central                5 8                                        86 1                                      100

West S. Central               7 2                                        91 0                                      100

Mountain                         6 4                                        88 2                                      100

Pacific                               6 4                                        89 1                                      100


New England: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT; Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA; South Atlantic: DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV; East North Central: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI; West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD; East South Central: AL, KY, MS, TN; West South Central: AR, LA, OK, TX; Mountain: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY; Pacific: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA



Financial Hiring: By Industry


Percentage ...             Increase            Decrease      No Change            Undecided       Total
United States                   7 3                                        89 1                                      100

Manufacturing                 4 3                                        92 1                                      100

Retail                               9 6                                        85 0                                      100

Fin., Ins. & R. Estate    19     0                                      81                                          0                                      100

Prof. Services                  6 3                                        90 1                                      100

Construction                    5 0                                        89 6                                      100

Wholesale                        4 2                                        94 0                                      100

Transportation               11 5                                        84 0                                      100

Bus. Services                   8 4                                        88 0                                      100



Comparative Data: Two-Year History of Financial Hiring Index
Quarter            Percent Increase            Percent Decrease            Net Increase
4Q05                           7                                  3                                4

3Q05                           7                                  4                                3

2Q05                           8                                  2                                6

1Q05                           9                                  4                                5

4Q04                           8                                  2                                6

3Q04                           7                                  3                                4

2Q04                           7                                  1                                6

1Q04                           7                                  5                                2

4Q03                           8                                  7                                1



[1] Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota

[2] New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

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