CFOs Report on Third-Quarter Hiring Plans; Survey Finds Most Executives Still Confident About Business Growth

Jun 07, 2010, 08:00 ET from Robert Half International Inc.

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index (http://rhfa.mediaroom.com/FinancialHiringIndex) said they plan to hire full-time accounting and finance employees during the third quarter of 2010, while 9 percent anticipate staff reductions. The majority of respondents (83 percent) do not expect to make changes to their personnel levels.

While the projected net 3 percent decrease is down slightly from the second-quarter forecast, CFOs remain optimistic about the outlook for their businesses. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they are very or somewhat confident in their firms' growth prospects for the next three months, the same figure reported the previous quarter.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

"Though most CFOs are optimistic about future growth for their companies, many remain cautious in their hiring outlook and are keeping a close watch on economic trends," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "At the same time, some firms are managing increased business activity by bringing in temporary professionals or making strategic full-time hires."

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The West South Central(1) states should experience the most active hiring in the third quarter, survey results show. Twelve percent of CFOs anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance staff and 6 percent plan to decrease personnel levels, yielding a net 6 percent of companies planning to hire in the next three months.

"Companies in the West South Central states report demand for accounting operations professionals who can help them ensure timely payment and collection of bills as business activity gains momentum," Messmer said. "Manufacturing, healthcare and energy are among the sectors driving hiring activity within the region."

Firms in the Mountain(2) and New England(3) states also expect hiring activity above the national average. A net 2 percent of executives in both of these sections of the country said they plan to boost staff levels in the coming quarter.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

CFOs in the transportation industry are most optimistic about their hiring plans for the third quarter, with a net 5 percent forecasting personnel increases. Hiring among manufacturing firms also is expected to outpace the national average, with a net 3 percent of executives in the sector anticipating adding staff.

About the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

First published in 1992, the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that businesses from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and company size (by number of employees). The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of company size within each region.

The Financial Hiring Index is conducted as part of the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which tracks hiring trends among professional occupations. More information about the Professional Employment Report is available at http://www.roberthalf.us/per.

About Robert Half International

Robert Half International was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has 360 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at http://www.roberthalf.com.

(1) Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

(2) Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

(3) Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont







Financial Hiring: By Region







Percentage ...

Increase

Decrease

No Change

Undecided

Total

United States

6

9

83

2

100

New England

9

7

82

2

100

Middle Atlantic

8

13

79

0

100

South Atlantic

4

10

83

3

100

East N. Central

3

6

89

2

100

West N. Central

2

4

91

3

100

East S. Central

8

9

82

1

100

West S. Central

12

6

79

3

100

Mountain

11

9

76

4

100

Pacific

3

10

81

6

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

6

9

83

2

100

Manufacturing

7

4

84

5

100

Retail

9

13

75

3

100

Fin., Ins. & R. Estate

3

5

88

4

100

Prof. Services

5

9

83

3

100

Construction

2

6

91

1

100

Wholesale

10

11

78

1

100

Transportation

11

6

83

0

100

Bus. Services

5

7

82

6

100



Comparative Data: Two-Year History of the Financial Hiring Index

Quarter

Increase

Decrease

Net

3Q10

6

9

-3

2Q10

7

8

-1

1Q10

6

9

-3

4Q09

4

10

-6

3Q09

5

8

-3

2Q09

5

7

-2

1Q09

9

8

1

4Q08

10

5

5

3Q08

6

6

0



SOURCE Robert Half International Inc.



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