The uncertain economic climate is making CFOs re-evaluate accounting and finance staffing levels. For the first time in more than five years, more CFOs interviewed for the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index predicted decreases than predicted increases in personnel. Seven percent of CFOs interviewed by Robert Half expected to reduce accounting and finance staff over the next three months, while only 5% plan to add staff.
However, 6% of professional services CFOs nationwide said they plan to hire accounting and finance staff in the second quarter while only 4% plan to reduce staff. There is equally good news from CFOs in industries hard-hit by the recent economic downturn—a net 2% of CFOs in finance, insurance and real estate also said they will expand staff levels. CFOs in the construction sector predicted the greatest reduction of staff, with 12% expecting reductions at their organizations.
More CFOs in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas (11%) planned to add staff in the second quarter than in other regions. That region’s diverse industry base, including the oil and gas sectors, has a steady need for mid-level general accountants, controllers and audit managers.
The outlook was not as promising in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, where only 2% of CFOs said their organizations planned to add employees, while 8% predicted personnel reductions. Nationwide, there were only two regions where the number of CFOs that predicted hiring would take place equaled the number that predicted cuts—New England, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont (6%), and the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee (7%).
The Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index, first published in 1992, is based on more than 1,400 interviews with CFOs from companies with 20 or more employees. Complete survey results are available here.