CFOs Expect Q3 Hiring Increase

Chief financial officers (CFOs) foresee a net 14 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the third quarter of 2000, a gain of five percentage points from the second quarter forecast, according to a recent study from Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index. Sixteen percent of CFOs surveyed said their firms plan to expand accounting and finance departments in the next three months and only 2 percent anticipate personnel reductions. Eighty-one percent of executives expect no change in staffing activity.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of 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 the accounting, finance and information technology fields.

CFOs in the Middle Atlantic states anticipate the strongest employment gains in the third quarter. Twenty-two percent of executives expect to add accounting and finance personnel and 2 percent foresee cutbacks, for a net hiring increase of 20 percent. "The region's manufacturing and finance, insurance and real estate sectors are expanding," says Max Messmer, Chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Firms in these industries are in particular need of employees skilled at managing financial transactions, including accounts receivable and payable professionals and staff accountants."

Financial executives in the Pacific states are also optimistic about hiring activity in the next three months. Twenty-two percent of executives plan to expand their accounting and finance departments and 3 percent forecast reductions, for a net 19 percent increase in hiring. The West South Central3 region will also see staffing growth above the national average, according to the survey. Seventeen percent of CFOs anticipate adding accounting and finance staff and none foresee a decline.

Twenty-six percent of CFOs at business services firms plan to add accounting and finance personnel and none foresee cutbacks. In the finance, insurance and real estate industries, 27 percent of executives project staff expansion and 2 percent expect a reduction.

Staffing activity is also forecast to exceed the national average in the manufacturing sector, where CFOs anticipate a net 17 percent increase in hiring, and in the construction industry, where executives foresee a net hiring increase of 15 percent.

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