Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

New Robert Half Survey Reveals CFOs Will Need You to Go Ahead and Come in on Saturday

We’re not very good at math or statistics so perhaps our numbers are off a bit, but how do 89% of CFOs expect their firms to grow in the second quarter of 2011 while 85% also do not expect to add any new full-time accounting and finance professionals? It doesn’t take a mathlete to figure out what that means for those of you lucky enough to work for these CFOs, so you better get to slacking off now before they come down to your cube and kindly inform you you’ll need to go ahead and come in on Saturday.

Robert Half interviewed 1400 CFOs across the country for their Robert Half Financial Hiring Index and here’s what they came up with:

Most (85 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index said they expect to make no changes to their current staffing levels during the second quarter of 2011. Seven percent anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals, while another 7 percent plan personnel reductions. The net 0 percent projection is down two points from the first-quarter 2011 forecast.

As businesses navigate the current economy, they remain optimistic about the outlook for their own companies. Eighty-nine percent of CFOs expressed confidence in their firms’ growth potential in the second quarter, up one point from the first-quarter survey.

Looking to relocate? Try the Pacific or Mid-Atlantic regions. Twelve percent of CFOs plan to add full-time accounting and finance professionals and 5 percent foresee cutbacks, a net 7 percent increase.

“Many Pacific-region companies, particularly those in the manufacturing and technology sectors, are rebuilding their teams to meet renewed demand for their products and services,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “In particular, firms are looking for skilled financial analysts to help them control costs and prepare for potential growth.”

In the end, a net 0 hiring projection is a lot better than previous recent surveys which were in the negative however we’d be remiss if we did not point out that the last time the survey showed a net 0 projection was for 3rd quarter 2008. And we all know how that particular period of time went.

What does this mean? New grads who are still waiting around for jobs can keep waiting, and more seasoned professionals who have been out of work for quite some time should probably just give up. Thanks for the great news, RH!

Analyzing the Hiring Outlook for Accountants

Okay, so Roberto Half dropped their quarterly Financial Hiring Index and the message is that things are turning around for accounting and finance peeps looking for jobs out there. Their rationale? It’s the first net positive hiring outlook since the first quarter of 2009. Are we convinced that the ship is turning around? Hardly, dude. Let’s take a look at some of these details to see what’s is going on.


Good news: A net 1% (8% hiring, 7% firing) of CFOs surveyed plan to hire new employees in the last three months of the year. The fact that 84% of the CFOs surveyed don’t plan any hiring isn’t exactly thrilling but considering the last 2, wait 3 (going on 4?) years this, everyone is probably used to seeing even more dismal numbers.

Bad News: The hottest area of the country for hiring is the West South Central – defined as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas. Bob tells us (via Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of RHI) that a net 6% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in Q4. This is due to the “Retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and gas services companies in the region are rebuilding their teams,” sayeth Maximilian. Of course if you cut Texas out of the equation, that amounts to approximately 12 jobs total. If you include Texas, then it’s more like 112. If you were considering moving to TX, those 100 or so jobs will likely be taken by migrants from AR, LA and OK before Halloween.

What is actually promising is that net 5% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in the “Pacific” states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington (IOW, California). Whether this actually pans out is another matter entirely.

Overall, only three out of nine regions in the survey have net positive results.

The other problem is that the industries that are doing most of the hiring are manufacturing and wholesale sectors. That means the outlook for all you people in financial (includes insurance and real estate), business/professional services and construction is still looking bleak.

So what can we take from all this? Basically that the only certainty at this point is that no one has any idea what’s going on.

CFOs Reveal Fourth-Quarter Hiring Expectations [Robert Half via FINS]