Most Active Hiring Forecast In East North Central Region, Business Services Sector


MENLO PARK, CA, June 9, 2005 -- Financial executives expect to continue hiring in the third quarter, but the rate of growth is anticipated to ease somewhat from second-quarter levels, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index.  Seven percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said they plan to expand their full-time staff and 4 percent forecast reductions in personnel. The net 3 percent increase is three points below the second-quarter projection. The majority of respondents, 87 percent, expect no change in employee 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 International Inc., 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.

“Businesses are trying to gauge the strength of the economy before determining whether or not to add new full-time employees,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “Uncertainty related to issues such as energy costs, along with rising healthcare expenses, have contributed to the cautious environment. In addition, high productivity has allowed firms to remain competitive without having to expand staff levels.”


Messmer added, “Companies are looking to fill their most-pressing needs – internal auditors and staff and senior accountants in many cases – and are taking a deliberate approach to ensure they find the ideal person for each opening. However, with the accelerated hiring that took place at the beginning of the year, some firms are finding a shortage of skilled candidates.”


Fifty-five percent of CFOs who expect to bring in staff in the next three months cited anticipated business growth as the primary factor fueling demand.  Seventeen percent said rising workloads are creating the need for additional personnel.


Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
The East North Central[1] states are projected to experience the most active hiring. A net 7 percent of CFOs expect to add full-time accounting and finance professionals. Eight percent of those polled plan to bring in staff and 1 percent anticipate cutbacks.


“Businesses in the East North Central region are increasingly confident and have started to staff positions lost during the economic downturn,” said Messmer. “Companies in this part of the country also seek internal auditors with strong financial-reporting skills to help with projects related to the ongoing compliance requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.”


Hiring in the Middle Atlantic[2] and West North Central[3] regions is forecast to exceed the national pace as well. A net 6 percent of financial executives in each of these areas anticipate expanding personnel levels in the coming months.

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


Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry
The business services sector is expected to see the greatest hiring activity among industries. Nineteen percent of those polled from this sector expect to bring in staff and 4 percent foresee personnel reductions, a net 15 percent increase.


Wholesale and retail companies also project strong growth. A net 10 percent of wholesale CFOs and a net 5 percent of retail executives plan to add full-time accounting and finance employees in the third 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 4                                        87 2                                      100

New England                    9 11                                        80 0                                      100

Middle Atlantic              10 4                                        85 1                                      100

South Atlantic                  5 3                                        90 2                                      100

East N. Central                8 1                                        90 1                                      100

West N. Central              7 1                                        90 2                                      100

East S. Central                6 5                                        87 2                                      100

West S. Central               7 4                                        88 1                                      100

Mountain                         8 5                                        87 0                                      100

Pacific                               6 6                                        86 2                                      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 4                                        87 2                                      100

Manufacturing                 7 3                                        89 1                                      100

Retail                               7 2                                        89 2                                      100

Fin., Ins. & R. Estate      1                                              3                                        89                                          7                                      100

Prof. Services                  6 5                                        87 2                                      100

Construction                    5 11                                        84 0                                      100

Wholesale                      10 0                                        89 1                                      100

Transportation                 7 3                                        88 2                                      100

Bus. Services                 19 4                                        76 1                                      100


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

3Q03                           5                                  5                                0



[1] Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin

[2] New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

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


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