Companies are Optimistic for the Rest of 2011
If a recent Robert Half International quarterly survey is any indication, finance professionals will have a slightly rosier job market in the coming months. The survey of 1,400 CFOs at companies employing at least 20 people indicates that a 1% rise in hiring expectations is expected in the third quarter.
Nine out of 10 respondents expressed confidence that next quarter will be a period of growth for their companies. In addition, over 40% surveyed are very confident that growth will occur. “We certainly haven’t seen a rocket ship to the moon when it comes to hiring,” says Katherine Spencer Lee, Senior District President at Robert Half. She adds “I think that the economy is still a question mark for a lot of people. But to know that people are feeling that positive. I was very encouraged.”
The results of the survey show confidence across industries. Six out of eight industries represented show additional accounting and finance jobs being available. Wholesalers showed the highest job growth rate potential, expecting hiring to be up a net 9% throughout the sector. Retail, business services and manufacturing could see an 8% rise, while transportation rounded out the industry classes with a 1% increase expected.
System business analysts that are focused on technology solutions will be in demand. One respondent remarked “They…help in the analysis and execution of how we get accounting and finance talking to technology, so that we can be most streamlined in what we’re doing.”
New hires may not see a jump in their paychecks; however qualified candidates are being attracted with total benefit packages, including flexible scheduling and telecommuting options. “We’re seeing people get more holistic when they approach someone about joining their organization,” says Spencer Lee. “It’s more than just compensation.”
Two critical industries are expected to reduce staff, according to the survey. Professional services are expecting to cut nearly 8% of current finance positions, while financial, real estate and insurance companies are looking to reduce roughly 9% of their workforce.
The finding in the Robert Half survey echo the results of a Grant Thornton LLP survey conducted earlier this year, which proclaimed that 39% of CFOs and comptrollers polled expect to increase headcount. In that survey, roughly 48% feel the economy will improve somewhat over the next six months. Fifty-four percent claimed they are optimistic about their company’s near-term future.
A potential harbinger which could have a significant impact on overall hiring was exposed in that survey: exactly 50% of respondents expect to raise prices over the final two quarters of 2011.