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Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

CFOs Report Third-Quarter Hiring Plans
Staff Levels May Remain Little Changed; Recruiting Difficulties Rise

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- The number of full-time employees in accounting and finance departments could remain little changed in the third quarter, according to the latest Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Ninety-three percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed expect to maintain their current staff levels in the upcoming quarter. Three percent of respondents said they plan to add accounting and finance employees, while 4 percent anticipate staff decreases. 

Despite the conservative hiring forecast, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) executives said they face a recruiting environment that is either somewhat or very challenging. This is up from 62 percent last quarter.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index, part of the company's quarterly Professional Employment Report, 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.

"The eurozone debt crisis, as well as inconsistent economic indicators in the United States, may be prompting companies to take a more measured approach to hiring," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.

"While many companies are not expected to change the size of their staff in the immediate term, financial executives continue to report difficulty finding skilled talent in high-demand specialties," Messmer added. "Positions in demand include financial analysts, senior and staff accountants, and business systems analysts."

View the research highlights.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

The West South Central1 region is expected to see the most active hiring in the third quarter, with a net 1 percent of executives interviewed planning to hire full-time accounting and finance employees. Two percent of CFOs in these states anticipate adding staff, while 1 percent forecast personnel reductions.

In the South Atlantic2 states, 3 percent of respondents anticipate hiring and 3 percent expect staff decreases. Two percent of West North Central3 CFOs plan staff increases, while another 2 percent foresee reducing staff levels.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

Executives in the retail industry expect to do the most hiring in the third quarter, according to the survey. Four percent of respondents in the sector said they expect to add accounting and finance professionals, compared to 2 percent who anticipate cutbacks.

About the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

First published in 1992, the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is conducted by an independent research firm and 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.

Information from the study is featured in the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which was launched in 2010 and is the first study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 4,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout the United States, it provides insight on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring in accounting and finance has changed since last quarter and how it compares to other sectors, please visit

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 more than 350 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at

1 Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
2 Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
3 Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota