Greatest Growth Forecast In New England, East South Central Regions And Finance, Insurance And Real Estate Sector

MENLO PARK, CA , March 21, 2005 -- Full-time hiring in accounting and finance is expected to see a modest uptick in the second quarter, according to the most recent Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed anticipate a net 6 percent increase in hiring activity, up one point from the first-quarter projection and equal to forecasts made this time last year. Eight percent of CFOs plan to add staff in the coming quarter, and 2 percent foresee personnel reductions.

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.

“Companies appear to be more confident, pursuing new initiatives as well as ones that were previously postponed,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “As economic conditions improve and more projects are launched, there is greater urgency to hire accounting and finance personnel to support expansion efforts.”

Among executives planning to increase staff levels in the second quarter, 61 percent cited business growth as the reason. Seventeen percent of those polled pointed to larger workloads.

Messmer added, “Corporate governance initiatives continue to fuel demand for skilled accounting and internal audit staff as firms address ongoing Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.”

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region
CFOs in the East South Central[1] and New England[2] states forecast the most active hiring levels during the second quarter. Fourteen percent of executives in each of these regions plan to add full-time employees, and none expect to reduce staff. This reflects an increase over first-quarter projections of eight points in the East South Central region and nine points in New England.

“Businesses in the East South Central states report the need for senior managers, as well as staff-level candidates who can meet a variety of needs,” Messmer said. “In New England, growth within the manufacturing sector is generating demand for financial professionals. Firms in both regions seek financial analysts for projects such as budget forecasting and strategic planning, as well as staff with strong information technology skills to help with systems upgrades and data management.”

CFOs in the Middle Atlantic[3] and Mountain[4] regions also expect hiring activity above the national average. A net 7 percent of CFOs in each area anticipate bringing in new personnel in the second quarter.

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

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry
Hiring activity is expected to be strongest in the finance, insurance and real estate industry. Twenty percent of CFOs polled from this sector project adding full-time accounting employees, and none expect to decrease the size of their staff.

The manufacturing and wholesale industries are expected to outpace the national average as well. A net 9 percent of CFOs from manufacturing firms plan to augment their finance teams in the coming quarter, and a net 8 percent of wholesale executives anticipate increased hiring.

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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[1] Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee

[2] Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

[3] New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

[4] Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

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